• Lucy Markillie
A welcome boost for creative industries across Greater Manchester and beyond

The Creative Industries Minister, Margot James, recently announced that more than £20 million is being invested into creative industries in the UK. It’s hoped that the funding will help to attract new talent, boost education and skills and help existing creative businesses to scale up their operations.

Personally, I am very pleased to hear this news – not just because the Growth Company is passionate about achieving the very same goals that the funding has been set out to do, but also because creative industries contribute over £100 billion to the UK’s economy. Improving skills and opportunities within the sector is also key in supporting the government’s modern industrial strategy – again something which we at the Growth Company are very proud to be contributing to.

So what does the funding cover? The majority (£14m) will be put towards a Creative Careers Programme. This will involve some of the biggest names in the industry working with schools and colleges to raise awareness of careers in creative industries. It’s hoped that by 2020, the programme will have already reached more than 160,000 students. The initiative will also play a vital role in creating apprenticeship vacancies, which is fantastic news for school and college leavers who are considering a career in the creative sectors.

A further £4 million will go towards helping creative businesses, and the funding will be split between prime areas across the country – including Greater Manchester. As part of the programme, mentors will be made available to help organisations overcome barriers that are preventing them from growing; whether it’s helping them to access finance or giving their marketing a much-needed boost to win more business.

Here at the Growth Company, we know and understand the importance of mentoring programmes and have seen success with our own programme, as well as Be the Business Mentoring for Growth pilot we supported – which pairs SMEs with an experienced business mentor to help them through expansion challenges.

And it’s not just myself who thinks a bespoke programme will do great things for creative businesses across Greater Manchester and beyond. Speaking of the positive impact the funding will have on the city-region, Mayor Andy Burnham said: “Greater Manchester is a proud city-region of innovation and our creative businesses are truly thriving. With almost 9,000 businesses, our Creative sector is the fastest growing part of the Greater Manchester economy. With more than 82,300 people and generating £4.1 billion of economic growth annually we are already home to the largest digital and creative cluster outside London.”

“This new programme will help us accelerate our creative businesses with ambitions to grow. We are going to work with creative businesses at scale here in our city-region to help them become investment ready and linked with the wide range of excellent business support that is on offer across Greater Manchester.”

I’m looking forward to seeing how the programme plays out and seeing the difference it makes to creative industries. In the meantime, if you would like help to scale up and futureproof your creative business, get in touch with our team. Our experts are on-hand to help you and your business achieve their goals.