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Creative Scale Up

Creative Scale Up 2021-06-29T16:36:21+01:00
Graffiti image of man in glasses on a large wall

Credit: Artwork by KOBRA painted at UPFEST 2017

In response to the significant impact the pandemic has had on businesses and individuals working in the creative industries, the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) is launching a new business support programme and grant fund for the cultural and creative sectors, as part of its Regional Recovery Plan.

We’re providing increased support to our region’s creative businesses to help you respond and adapt as the world changes rapidly and provide you with the resilience to navigate uncertainty and get set for future success.

This includes grants for both creative businesses and creative freelancers plus  business support programmes which you’ll find on our West of England Growth Hub website.

We’ve now closed applications for our Creative Scale Up programme.

The Creative Scale Up programme

Covid-19 update

We understand the creative sector needs support now more than ever, so we have changed our focus and delivery of the programme to ensure our offer remains meaningful and relevant during crisis times and it is still easily accessible.

Programme delivery has moved online, and mentoring sessions and participation in the Peer Support Network is taking place via telephone and video-conferencing.

The themes for peer support discussion and the training have been developed with scaling businesses in mind and include leadership, business strategy, access to finance, innovation, and communication.  However, we appreciate the need to now frame these topics around survival and resilience.

About the programme

Creative Scale Up is a two-year pilot programme funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. It aims to help creative businesses in the West of England access finance through an intensive sustainable growth support programme.

Creative businesses that demonstrate a genuine ambition to grow, innovate and strengthen the local economy are eligible to apply.

Creative Scale Up mobilises regional and national investors and educates and encourages them to invest in our hot-bed of creative businesses. The programme runs until March 2021, and each business on the programme will be part of a cohort receiving a minimum of six months intensive business support.

Businesses will receive an individually tailored package of support, including:

  • A £6,000 grant to spend on mentoring support;
  • A dedicated Peer Support Network facilitated by Gill Wildman (Watershed Business Development Advisor) and Mark Leaver (DIT Creative Industries Advisor);
  • Business development training;
  • The opportunity to pitch for a grant of up to £2,000 to spend on business development activity.
  • Continued engagement with investors until the programme ends in 2021.

Watch our video to find out how Creative Scale Up has benefitted local businesses.

The Arcadia spider at a performance in Queens Square, Bristol

Credit: Arcadia in Queen Square Bristol

Eligibility criteria

To apply for the programme, your business needs to:

  • Have a minimum of 8 employees, up to 4 of whom can be regular freelance staff
  • Have scaled by 10% in the last year (turnover or employees)
  • Have the ambition to grow by at least 20% over the next 3 years
  • Be a Creative Industries business
  • Have not received more than £200,000 in government funded business support in the last 2 years
  • Be based in the West of England (Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire)
  • Agree to participate in the activities and workshops of the programme

Creative Industries businesses are defined as those working in the following sectors:

  • Advertising & Marketing
  • Architecture
  • Arts & Culture
  • Craft
  • Createch (tech that is immersive or enables creativity, for example music software)
  • Design
  • Fashion
  • Gaming
  • Music
  • Publishing
  • TV and Film

We also welcome applications from companies who do not fit 100% of the criteria but who demonstrate a strong case for growth.


Creative Scale Up is now closed to applications.

Please visit our creative page on our Growth Hub site for information on the support available.

Take me to the West of England Growth Hub