A guide to funding for creative businesses

26th August 2021

We recently ran an event discussing funding for creative businesses with the south west team at Innovate UK EDGE and a group of Bristol Creative Industries members. During the discussion, attendees said it would be useful if we could provide regular updates on the finance schemes that are available for creative companies in the south west and beyond. This post is our response. We will keep it updated so check it regularly.  

Latest funding for creative businesses:

UWE Bristol Digital Innovation Fund

This fund supports SMEs in the West of England that are seeking to innovate to solve new challenges and create new employment opportunities. Grants of £10,000 to £40,000 to fund 35% of project costs are available.

The deadline for applications is 12pm on 16 November 2021.

More details here.

Creative Sector Growth Programme

This West of England Combined Authority programme is supporting up to 120 creative businesses and freelancers across two cohorts to reformulate their operating and financial models, explore new business opportunities and review business plans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The support and funding scheme is for creative businesses and freelancers across all sectors of the creative industries and all ownership types, with a focus on improving business resilience and supporting recovery.

Applications for the spring 2022 cohort are open until 12pm on 22 November. You can apply here.

Digital Innovation Business Acceleration Hub Micro Grant

The University of Bath is offering £1,000 grants to SMEs to spend on products or services that will help their businesses to grow. Examples include paying for intellectual property advice, product development consultancy, website design and marketing advice.

To apply, the business must be registered with Companies House and have an operations address in Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset or South Gloucestershire.

More details here.

The New Ideas Fund

This fund from Creative Enterprise, developed and delivered by Creative England, provides grants of between £1,000 and £25,000 to creative entrepreneurs and companies working in moving image industries. The fund is aimed at screen based storytelling entrepreneurs and businesses in the English regions outside of London. It includes film, television, animation, games and immersive content.

The grants are to support the development of new and innovative ideas that have the potential to impact a founder’s entrepreneurial journey and grow their business.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Applicants will receive an outcome within eight weeks of the date they submit.

More details here.

Creative Growth Finance

Creative Growth Finance from Creative England provides scale-up finance to creative businesses. Loans of £100,000 – £500,000 with fixed interest rates from 7% – 15% are available.

Eligibility rules include:

  • Your most recent annual turnover must have been at least £300,000.
  • You must have at least one year of accounts filed at Companies House.

More details here.

Arts & Culture Impact Fund

This new £23m social impact investment fund is for socially driven arts, culture and heritage organisations registered and operating in the UK. It offers loans between £150,000 and £1m repayable until May 2030.

More details here.

The Elephant Trust

The Elephant Trust says its mission is to “make it possible for artists and those presenting their work to undertake and complete projects when frustrated by lack of funds. It is committed to helping artists and art institutions/galleries that depart from the routine and signal new, distinct and imaginative sets of possibilities.”

Grants of up to £5,000 are available. Applications must be submitted by midnight on 23 January 2022.

More details here.

Start Up Loans

A Start Up Loan is a government-backed unsecured personal loan for individuals looking to start or grow a business in the UK. Successful applicants also receive 12 months of free mentoring and exclusive business offers.

All owners or partners in a business can individually apply for up to £25,000 each, with a maximum of £100,000 per business.

The loans have a fixed interest rate of 6% p.a. and a one to five year repayment term.

More details here.

Developing your Creative Practice

This fund from Arts Council England supports individual cultural and creative practitioners in England thinking of taking their practice to the next stage through things such as: research, time to create new work, travel, training, developing ideas, networking or mentoring.

Grants of between £2,000 and £10,000 are available.

The fund opens in rounds. Round 12 opens for applications on 9 November 2021.

More details here.

UnLtd funding for social entrepreneurs

If you’re running a creative social enterprise you may be able to access funding from UnLtd.

Finance of up to £5,000 is available for starting a social enterprise and up to £15,000 for growing a social enterprise.

Successful applicants also get up to 12 tailored business support plus access to access to expert mentors and workshops.

More details here.

Know of more funding for creative businesses?

If you know of another scheme that we haven’t listed and you’d like to share it with other creative businesses, email Dan to let us know.


About Bristol Creative Industries

Bristol Creative Industries is the membership network that supports the region's creative sector to learn, grow and connect, driven by the common belief that we can achieve more collectively than alone. 

Related articles

What can I do to make my blog better?

What can I do to make my blog better?

Nailing your authenticity: The case for digital brand guidelines

Nailing your authenticity: The case for digital brand guidelines

TMW Unlimited move into their new Bristol home to truly embrace flexible working

TMW Unlimited move into their new Bristol home to truly embrace flexible working