Creative businesses who want to grow are being encouraged to bid for a new West of England Combined Authority programme before the 31 March deadline.

The Creative Scale Up programme, funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, aims to boost opportunities for the creative industries, which are a crucial part of the West of England’s economy.

West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, launched the West of England Creative Scale Up programme in January and announced the 15 businesses selected onto the first cohort.

He said: “Creative industries have been one of the fastest-growing sectors across the UK for the past decade, and this is reflected in our region, with 27% growth in digital and creative employment between 2015 and 2017.

 “I want our region to become the go-to place for the creative and cultural sector. I want the world to know that the West of England is home to talented people and businesses, and to help them grow into the big names of the future. That’s what our Creative Scale Up programme is all about.”

WECA is now calling out to others to bid for a place on the programme, which will run until January 2021. Businesses selected will receive a package of creative sector-specific tailored business support, including mentoring, facilitated face-to-face peer support, training and workshops. They will also be supported to engage with networks of investors.

 To be eligible for the programme, businesses need to: 

  • Be a creative industries business – such as: Advertising & Marketing; Architecture; Arts & Culture; Craft; Createch; Design; Fashion; Gaming; Music; Publishing; TV & Film
  • Be based in the West of England (Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire)
  • Have scaled by 10% in the last year (turnover or employees)
  • Have a minimum of 8 employees, up to 4 of whom can be regular freelance staff
  • Have not received more than €200,000 in government-funded business support in the last 2 years.

There will be two further cohorts starting in April and July; applications are open to join either of these cohorts, the deadline for the April cohort is 31 March 2020.

Businesses keen to find out more and apply should visit

 The first businesses on the West of England Creative Scale Up programme are: Arcadia; Crack Publishing, Luke Jerram Limited; Trigger Stuff; Waller and Wood; Cognitive Paths; Knowle West Media Centre (The Factory); Complete Control; Limina Immersive; Auroch Digital; Wardrobe Theatre; Encounters Film Festival, We Are Anagram, Visuable and MAYK.

Geraint Evans