In summer 2021 we 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 guide is our response.
The guide is one of Bristol Creative Industries’ most popular ever blog posts. We keep it updated with the latest funding schemes for creative businesses so check it regularly. We also include the post in our monthy email newsletter, BCI Bulletin. To sign up, go here.
Bristol Council is offering grants of between £2,500 and £10,000 to organisations taking on a new city centre or local high street commercial property.
The funding is open to businesses, charities, CICs, sole traders and arts and culture groups for both long term and temporary/meanwhile use.
Organisations must employ fewer than 50 people, have a turnover of £10.2m or less, and a balance sheet showing £5.1m or less.
Funding can be used for structural works to a property or equipment to be used in the property (capital expenditure). The funding needs to be matched by 20%.
Applications are open until 11.59pm on Monday 2 October 2023.
Successful applicants must start trading from the funded property by Thursday 29 February 2024.
UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £25m for game-changing and commercially viable research and development innovations that can significantly impact the UK economy.
Projects of six to 18 months must have total eligible project costs between £100,000 and £500,000 and can be single or collaborative. 19 to 36 month projects must have total eligible project costs between £100,000 and £2m and must be collaborative.
Applications are open until 14 June at 11am.
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 up to £12,000 are available.
The next round opens at 12pm on 11 July 2023, and closes at 12pm on 10 August 2023.
Micro, small and medium sized businesses can apply for a share of up to £5m in grant funding to deliver feasibility studies into artificial intelligence solutions that address business challenges and opportunities in the following sectors:
Grants of between £25,000 and £50,000 are available.
Applications close on 24 May at 11am.
Innovate UK’s £100m BridgeAI programme aims “to help businesses in high growth potential sectors such as creative industries, agriculture, construction, and transport to harness the power of AI and unlock their full potential”.
The programme offers funding and support to help innovators assess and implement trusted AI solutions, connect with AI experts, and elevate their AI leadership skills.
Creative Growth Finance from Creative UK provides scale-up finance to creative businesses. Loans of £100,000 – £1m with fixed interest rates from 7% – 15% are available.
Eligibility rules include:
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.
In the October 2021 spending review, former chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a new £200m fund for businesses in the South West.
Delivered by the British Business Bank, it will provide loans from £25,000 to £2m and equity investment up to £5m.
The fund will launch in Spring 2023 and cover Bristol, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire.
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 for the latest round of applications close on 25 June 2023.
Grants of up to £100,000 are available for arts, libraries and museums projects.
The grants support a broad range of creative and cultural projects that benefit people living in England. Projects can range from directly creating and delivering creative and cultural activity to projects which have a longer term positive impact, such as organisational development, research and development, and sector support and development.
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. Entrepreneurs starting a business or running one that has been trading for up to three years can apply. Businesses trading for between three and five years can apply for a second loan.
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.
Businesses can apply for up to £3,500 to cover the costs of installing gigabit broadband.
Check if the scheme is available in your area here.
European research and innovation funding includes opportunities for the UK cultural heritage and creative industries, with over €144.5m available. Despite the UK leaving the EU, the government announced the UK will associate to Horizon Europe. This means UK scientists, researchers and businesses can access funding under the programme on equivalent terms as organisations in EU countries.
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.
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.