DCMS Create Growth Fund: Competition 1

Key Features

UK registered micro, small and medium enterprises in the creative sector can apply for funding of between £10,000 and £30,000 for innovation projects to grow their business.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £30,000

Opens: 28th Nov 2022

Closes: 8th Feb 2003

! This scheme is now closed


Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is to invest approximately £3 million in innovation projects. This funding is from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) Create Growth Programme for the six appointed regions in England. The six regions are:

  • Greater Manchester
  • the West of England with Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
  • Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire
  • Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire
  • Kent, Essex, East and West Sussex
  • the North East of England


The aim of this competition is to provide a package of targeted support to high growth creative businesses, to scale, build investor networks and reach their potential.

This funding is designed to help creative businesses explore new innovation projects as a stimulus for growth.

Your proposal must:

  • be from the creative industries
  • be by a micro, small or medium enterprise registered in a DCMS Create Growth Programme region
  • focus on a clear growth opportunity and the proposed innovation to address it
  • demonstrate the impact funding and support can have on the growth plan of your business
  • engage with the regional support if your application is successful

Your project must:

  • offer an innovative and ambitious idea which demonstrates a clear growth opportunity
  • be new to your business
  • have a demonstrable impact to your growth plan, for example, start the process of creating a new revenue stream, such as new products, services or intellectual property (IP)
  • demonstrate a route to commercialisation within 12 months of receiving support with a clear plan for attracting additional private finance
  • benefit the wider creative cluster or region in England you are based in
  • be able to start rapidly
  • demonstrate value for money

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 sub-sectors:

  • advertising and marketing
  • architecture
  • crafts
  • design and designer fashion
  • film
  • television
  • video
  • radio
  • photography
  • IT, gaming, software and computer services
  • publishing
  • museums, galleries and libraries
  • music, performing and visual art

Creative industry businesses refer to those with a high intensity of creative occupations. You can refer to the DCMS Economic Estimates for a list of the sub-sectors and their associated SIC codes, that DCMS classifies under the creative industries.


Your project must:

  • have a total funding request of between £10,000 and £30,000
  • start by 1 June 2023
  • end by 31 December 2023
  • last between 3 and 6 months
  • carry out all its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

If your project’s end date falls outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to support@iuk.ukri.org at least 10 working days before the competition closes. Innovate UK will decide whether to approve your request. If you have not requested approval or your application has not been approved by us, you will be made ineligible. Your application will then not be sent for assessment.

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 and Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian and Belarusian source.

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered micro, small or medium size enterprise (SME)
  • be registered in one of the Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) Create Growth Programme appointed regions
  • not currently be in receipt of public funding for business growth
  • have a demonstrable ambition for growth
  • be from the creative industries and focused on one or more of the creative industries sub-sectors

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

You can only apply for this competition once.


You cannot use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

Innovate UK are not funding projects:

  • that support business as usual (BAU) activities
  • that are currently in the receipt of public funding for business growth
  • without evidence the proposed innovation will lead to business growth
  • that do not address how potentially negative outcomes will be considered, for example on the environment
  • without innovation, for example the creation of information-only websites
  • that sit outside of the creative industries
  • 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

Innovate UK have allocated approximately £3 million to fund growth focused innovation projects in this competition.

You can claim 100% grant of between £10,000 to £30,000 for your eligible project costs in this competition.

If successful, your grant will be released in instalments:

  • your total grant request minus £5,000, will be paid on the return of your signed grant offer letter, this can be in advance of your project start date
  • the remaining £5,000 of your grant request will be paid at the end of the project, on receipt and approval of a statement of expenditure (SOE)

For more information on company sizes, please refer to the Company accounts guidance. This is a change from the EU definition unless you are applying under European Commission De minimis.

If you are applying for an award funded under European Commission Regulations, the definitions are set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003.

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.