Create Growth Programme boost for region’s creative industries

A new investment programme worth £1.275 million has been launched to boost growth in the creative industries across the East.

Creative East: Create Growth Programme is an investment readiness and business support programme fully funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) with Innovate UK the national delivery partner.

Six regions were selected to deliver the Create Growth Programme across the UK. Creative East covers Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. The local programme is led by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in partnership with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Norfolk County Council, Suffolk County Council, and delivered by University of East Anglia (UEA) in partnership with Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), University of Suffolk (UoS) and Norwich University of the Arts (NUA).

Creative industries across the East are on the rise; across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, employment in the sector is increasing three times faster¹ than the national average. Between 2015 and 2020, employment within the creative industries in the East grew by 21.8% (an additional 8115 jobs), compared to just 7.5% growth across Great Britain.

The Create Growth Programme is looking to capitalise on the region’s specialisms within the creative sector, with a special focus on its core clusters: TV, film, and content production, plus IT, software, gaming and design. Organisations within this sector, who are keen to grow their business, are being encouraged to sign-up to the investment readiness programme, tailored to the creative industries sector, to benefit from expert advice, support and one to one mentoring to help them gain investors and boost growth.

Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of New Anglia LEP, said: “Creative industries are really thriving in our region and this programme will support their ambitions for growth and help create the high value jobs we need to retain and attract the top talent.”

Saffron Myhill, the Innovation Funding Manager at Creative East, is excited about the opportunities this new programme will create: “The East is home to a lot of talent within the creative industries and we’re keen to develop the region’s clusters, especially within the gaming and film sectors. This programme will provide expert support and advice to help business founders gain the investment they need to bring their business goals to life.”

The Eastern Clusters:

 The East enjoys a thriving film, TV, radio and photography industry, Norwich enjoys an international reputation and is England’s first UNESCO City of Literature. The city is also home to the National Centre for Writing, Norwich Theatre and has a demonstrable cluster of established businesses in TV and media, plus digital arts companies. Suffolk is also home to a rapidly expanding film industry. Screen Suffolk has over 550 film locations on its books and reports that each day filming adds £13,000 to the local economy.

 Cambridgeshire has also become a major hub for the games industry. Within Cambridge² 1800 people are employed directly in game development. The city also ranks third³ for gaming job opportunities in the UK and has the second highest number of gaming companies and third highest number of local gaming events per 100,000 people, making it an ideal area for future growth.

 Just outside Ipswich in Suffolk, lies the Innovation Martlesham cluster of high-tech telecommunication and technology companies. The cluster sits at the heart of the UK’s digital ecosystem, combining a national operation centre, test facilities and a global R&D unit, all set amongst a thriving community of collaborative technological innovation. In addition, the new 9.6m DigiTech Centre – a collaboration between BT and University of Suffolk will lead to further high value co-working opportunities, lab research and sector growth development. Partners are working with the Department for International Trade to maximise the prospects arising from the 5G and Digitalisation High Potential Opportunity.

The Create Growth Programme will run over two-years with training sessions being based in Norwich from April, Ipswich from September and in Cambridgeshire throughout 2024. Applications for the Create Growth Programme are now live. To apply please visit

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