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Creative Industry
Project Size:
Funding up to £50,000

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £10 million in innovation projects. This funding is part of the Creative Catalyst.

The aim of this competition is to support business innovation within the creative industries by providing a package of targeted and continuous support to help businesses to grow.

Your proposal must:

  • be from the creative industries or support the creative industries
  • demonstrate clear benefits for the UK creative industry and the wider UK economy
  • focus on a clear opportunity and the proposed innovation which addresses it
  • demonstrate the impact funding and support can have to the growth plan of your business, if your proposal is successful you must work with an adviser from Innovate UK EDGE to maximise the impact of your project

In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.

Your project must:

  • have a total grant funding request of no more than £50,000
  • start by 1 June 2023
  • end by 30 November 2023
  • last between 3 and 6 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

You must only include eligible costs in your application.

Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian or Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian or Belarusian source.

You will be made ineligible if you exceed the Minimal Financial Assistance limit. You must submit a complete declaration as part of your application.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered micro or small business (SME)
  • have not previously received funding from Innovate UK
  • be from the creative industries or support the creative industries
  • have a demonstrable ambition for growth
  • work with an Innovate UK EDGE advisor during your project to maximise its impact


Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.

You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK.

You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.

Number of applications

An eligible business can only submit one application.

The aim of this competition is to support business innovation within the creative industries, by providing a package of targeted and continuous support to help businesses to grow.

Your project must:

  • be related to and for the benefit of the creative industries in the UK
  • demonstrate a clearly innovative and ambitious idea
  • be new to your business, with a demonstrable impact to your growth plan
  • create a new revenue stream, for example new products, services or IP
  • respond to the changing market conditions, such as new modes of audience consumption, or the adoption of new technologies within the sector
  • be market ready within 12 months of receiving support
  • demonstrate value for money

We encourage proposals that can demonstrate benefit to the wider creative Industries subsector or regional cluster for example:

  • support the fashion and textile’s transition to a circular model
  • improve transparency and accountability across the online advertising supply chain
  • create new revenue streams and fan engagement activities in the music sector
  • demonstrate how advanced digital technologies, including, Metaverse, blockchain and AI, can transform the publishing sector

This list is not exhaustive and innovations from across the creative industries are welcome.

Portfolio approach

We want to fund a portfolio of projects, from a variety of creative subsectors across the UK. We call this a portfolio approach.

Specific themes

The creative industries are defined by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Your project must focus on one or more of the following subsectors:

  • advertising and Marketing
  • architecture
  • arts and culture
  • broadcasting including sport
  • crafts
  • design
  • fashion
  • film
  • games
  • music
  • publishing

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding projects:

  • that are for businesses that have previously received funding from Innovate UK
  • for business as usual (BAU) activities
  • that lack evidence their proposed innovation is expected to lead to significant and positive economic or societal impact, or value for money that will be achieved
  • that do not address how potentially negative outcomes would be managed, for example, on the environment
  • that lack research and development or innovation, for example the creation of information only websites
  • have costs and grant request in excess of £50,000
  • that involve primary production in fishery and aquaculture
  • that involve primary production in agriculture
  • whose activities relate to the purchase of road freight transport
  • not allowed under De minimis regulation restrictions
  • not eligible to receive Minimal Financial Assistance

We cannot fund projects that are:

  • dependent on export performance, for example giving an award to a baker on the condition that they export a certain quantity of bread to another country.
  • dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example if we give an award to a baker on the condition that they use 50% UK flour in their product

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