The team in East Anglia know the value of providing bespoke support for businesses, particularly in the Creative Industries. The East Anglia region is being led by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and encompasses Cambridge, Peterborough, Norfolk and Suffolk.
About the region
They’re working closely with the University of East Anglia (UEA), who are playing an important collaborative role in the delivery of the Create Growth Programme, branded as Creative East.
Having worked with startups and SMEs in the past, running similar programmes in other sectors, the team in East Anglia know the value of providing bespoke support for businesses, particularly in the Creative Industries. Generic support simply isn’t suitable and, in some cases, creative businesses have been put off altogether – thinking that private investment or investment readiness support isn’t for them.
The introduction of the Create Growth Programme has been welcomed by the East Anglia team, along with regional investors and creative businesses looking for support. The team are excited to deliver a programme that’s been designed specifically to champion creative businesses and respond to their needs, deeming it a unique opportunity for the four participating cohorts and the creative industries as a whole.
The East Anglia cohorts present a broad mix of creative businesses, from production companies working across film and television, to computer games, podcasting and app development. Some are fairly advanced and have grown organically, whilst others are more early stage.
Most are at a bit of a crossroads, looking for the support to expand their business and move into other markets. Being part of the programme gives them access to expertise and networks they wouldn’t otherwise, helping them to shape how their business moves forward.
“This is a golden opportunity to strengthen links with the creative industry sector in the region, which is really exciting.”
James Allen, Innovation and Sectors Manager at New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership
Objectives and delivery
The team is delivering tailored support from sector specialists, alongside academic partners, private investors and public sector funding. They offer one-to-one advice from industry experts, plus masterclasses and cohort-specific seminars.
They also provide carefully-matched mentors to ensure businesses receive the most relevant support. Saffron Myhill, Innovation Funding Manager at Invest East says: “These mentors are working in the industry and can share firsthand experience. The participants would never get access to them otherwise, so it’s a unique opportunity.”
The programme is highly collaborative, with businesses supporting each other and meeting local investors like the Anglia Capital Group. Businesses can also develop and practise their pitch, receiving feedback from mentors, peers and real-life investors.
Having worked on the Low Carbon Investment Fund, East Anglia is also prioritising sustainability. By encouraging businesses to do the same, they hope to add value and attract sustainably-minded investors.
Impact and response
With positive feedback so far, the team hope the programme will create a hub of opportunity for local investors and encourage the development of a co-investment fund.
The in-person elements of the programme have also been successful, with conversation and collaboration a top priority. Sam Burton, Senior Investment Advisor at UEA says, “When you’re in a room with people, that’s how you form relationships. That’s been so valuable, particularly as they’re all like- minded creative people but with different areas of expertise. They’re all so generous with their thoughts and opinions.”
The programme provides a friendly yet professional environment for companies to feel more confident and empowered, and helps to broaden their horizons. Penny Wright, Programme Communications Co-ordinator at UEA, says, “It’s a chance for companies to reflect and think differently about their opportunities, where they might previously have thought that private investment wasn’t for them.”