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Applications for the Create Growth programme are now closed.

The West of England Combined Authority are one of 6 successful regions who have been awarded £1.275m from DCMS to support local creative businesses to unlock economic growth. The Create Growth Programme will build on the success of the Creative Scale Up Pilot (2019-2022) and aims to support high-growth creative businesses to scale and become investment ready through a targeted business support package.

The Create Growth Programme consists of three complementary strands:

  • A bespoke business support programme delivered by Watershed
  • Access to a £7m finance fund delivered by Innovate UK
  • Investor outreach activities.


We are looking for companies who are exploring new growth opportunities, this could include, but is not exclusive to:

  • Reaching new customers
  • Developing or taking to market a new product or service
  • Expanding your business to new markets, including internationally

This programme is not looking to support 'business as usual', but for new business activity that will lead to growth.

What does the business support programme include?

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Financial Support
A £2500 grant

A £2500 grant to spend on professional sector specific expertise (mentoring, coaching and/or consultancy)

People talking at desk Image credit: Watershed
Dedicated Peer Support

You will receive a dedicated Peer Support Programme, including a minimum of six facilitated peer group sessions.

Woman presenting Image credit: Watershed
Workshops and training

8 monthly training sessions delivered by creative industry specialists.

Who was eligible for the programme?

Applications are now closed. Applicants needed to demonstrate they meet two or more of the criteria below:

  • Bar graph icon Turnover growth of 10% year-on-year over approximately 3 years (including either prior to or during the pandemic)
  • People icon Employing a minimum of 2 people over the last two years (full-time, part-time or freelance)
  • Revenue icon Created a revenue generating product, launched a new platform or service or reached a market of scale
  • Pound sign icon Generated a sales revenue in the last 2 years

Applicants also had to show:

  • Industry sector Your business is operating in one of the following Creative sub-sectors: Advertising & Marketing, Architecture, Arts & Culture, Craft, Createch, Design, Fashion, Gaming, Music, Publishing, TV and Film.
  • Trading address And that you have a registered and/or trading address in the Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset or South Gloucestershire local authority area.

Please note, businesses who have taken part in the Creative Scale Up or Creative Sector Growth programme will be eligible to apply but will be asked to demonstrate that their growth activity is different to when they previously participated in the programme.

Applications closed

What was the application process?

To apply for the Create Growth Programme's second cohort starting in March 2024, applicants had to:

  • Download and complete the application form
  • Fill out the EDI form
  • Review the provided guidance document
  • Email their application and EDI form to by the deadline, 12pm Friday 1 December.

Innovate UK Finance Fund

Please note: This fund is currently closed, please sign up to the newsletter to be kept up to date as to when this re-opens.

Consortium Members

The Combined Authority are the lead organisation in a consortium including North Somerset Council, Watershed Arts Trust, Cornwall & Isles of Scilly LEP & Creative UK.

To find out more about the Cornwall Create Growth Programme, please click here.

Our funding

The Create Growth Programme is funded by Department for Media, Sport & Culture and is led by national delivery partners Innovate UK. 

Contact us

If you have any questions about the programme, please contact