Creative Catalyst 2023

Key Features

UK registered micro and small businesses in the creative industries sector, can apply for funding up to £50,000 with a package of support to grow their business.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £50,000

Opens: 5th Dec 2022

Closes: 15th Feb 2023

! This scheme is now closed


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 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

Innovate UK 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.

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


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 project 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.

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.

An eligible business can only submit one application.

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.


Innovate UK 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

Innovate UK 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

Funding Costs

Up to £10 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition.

You can claim 100% of your eligible project costs up to the maximum of £50,000.

If successful, your grant will be released in instalments:

  • your total grant request minus £15,000, will be paid on the return of your signed grant offer letter, this can be in advance of your project start date
  • the remaining £15,000 will be paid at the end of the project, on receipt and approval of a statement of expenditure (SOE) by Innovate UK, and completion of a three-month action plan with your EDGE advisor

Interested in applying for this competition?

Book an appointment to speak to one of our advisors to discuss your eligibility to apply for this Grant Funding opportunity.