What is Creative England?
Creative England is a not-for-profit organisation that provides support for and investment in the UK’s creative industries.
Creative England’s stated aim is to invest in talented people and their creative ideas – not only in the games industry but also in the TV, film and digital media industries.
How can Creative England help your studio?
Creative England has two funding streams:
- The Greenshoots programme is supported by Microsoft and is aimed at entities that wish to develop an Xbox or PC title based outside of Greater London. It offers investments of between £50,000 and £200,000.
- GamesLab Leeds, which runs until 2019, is aimed at games developers and SMEs based in the Leeds City Region and offers investment of between £1,000 and £5,000.
More information on when further funding rounds may open can be found here.
In order to be considered for the Greenshoots programme, the studio needs to be a UK registered SME (based in any of the English regions outside of Greater London) and it needs to be able to match the Creative England funding £1 for £1 with its own private funding. The studio needs to have previous game development experience and an idea for an innovative new game that can be available for commercial release within approximately 18 months of receiving Creative England funding. The studio must not have received over €200,000 worth of public sector funding in any three year rolling period, to comply with State Aid rules.
In order to be considered for GamesLab Leeds, the entity should be a UK registered SME trading in the Leeds City region.
How do you apply?
An entity that wishes to be considered for the Greenshoots programme needs to apply to Creative England during the publicised application window, details of which can be found here.
An entity interested in being considered for the Greenshoots programme or GamesLab Leeds needs to complete an online eligibility and application form. Shortlisted applicants will then be invited to pitch in person. If successful, the applicant will then be subject to due diligence checks by Creative England.
What are the terms?
Information on the terms of any specific funding programme currently being run by Creative England can be found on Creative England’s website.
For the Greenshoots programme, in our experience the investment is recoupable by Creative England and it is important to understand the terms of CE’s recoupment and how it might affect your other financiers (e.g. whether they expect to recoup their investments before or after Creative England). Other terms in the past have included that:
- the funding can only be used for costs directly associated with the project named in the application
- the funded entity having to retain the majority of the IP rights created using the funding
- the IP created being available for commercial release no later than 18 months after the funding was received
- entities who received funding having to create and safeguard jobs (approximately 1 permanent, full-time PAYE enrolled job created/safeguarded per £7,000 investment received in the two years following the funding being received)
- any funding received not being allowed to be spent on expenditure not forecast in the submitted budget, alcohol and entertainment, expenditure undertaken outside of the project lifetime or any personal or company tax liabilities
- the funded entity having to co-operate with reasonable requests to promote and support the programme.