Suffolk creative industries encouraged to go for growth

Ambitious Suffolk-based creative industry companies are urged to sign up to a new free-of-charge investment readiness programme organised by Creative East.

The Creative East programme was launched at the beginning of the year to help develop high-growth potential in the creative industries. Support for companies across Suffolk will start from mid-September 2023 with the deadline for applications on 7 July.

Creative East says the scheme represents an ideal stepping stone for companies who are looking to make strategic growth decisions. The programme is led by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), and Chief Executive Chris Starkie says he is excited about the prospects on offer.

He explains: “Suffolk is home to a thriving tech and film sector, there’s a lot of opportunity for businesses in the creative industries to grow at great pace in this region. We’re here to help businesses meet their ambitions for growth and help create high value jobs, whilst retaining and attracting more top talent to the area.”

Creative East is open to eligible businesses from all creative industries, with additional focus on local strengths and clusters such as digital creative tech and film. The Eastern region has a strong IT sector with 955 of those businesses based in Suffolk. The sector grew by an impressive 14% across the region between 2017-2020, much faster than the national average of just 3%. The sector is also a major employer creating 3,595 jobs for the people of Suffolk.

Another industry focus for the Creative East programme is the film, TV, radio and photography sector. The East provides a much-loved backdrop for the screen industry and according to Screen Suffolk, which has over 550 film locations on its books, each day of filming adds £13,000 to the local economy. Suffolk is home to 205 businesses in the sector and employs 725 people in the county.

Saffron Myhill is the Innovation Funding Manager at Creative East, and she is equally eager to welcome local businesses onto the programme. Saffron says: “For ambitious businesses at a crossroads, this programme is unique in providing the information and support that will help founders understand how to take their business forward and to bring their business goals to life. We have an incredible line-up of top talent on offer to provide industry specific advice on a wide range of subjects from intellectual property rights to finance as well as effective communication. Each participant will receive a bespoke training programme and be matched to expert mentors and all the support is fully funded.”

Creative East is one of six regional programmes in the Create Growth national programme, an investment readiness and business support programme funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport with Innovate UK as the national delivery partner.

It’s led by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership in partnership with Greater Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Norfolk County Council, Suffolk County Council, and delivered by University of East Anglia in partnership with Anglia Ruskin University, University of Suffolk and Norwich University of the Arts.

Applications for the Creative East programme at University of Suffolk for a September start are now live. More details and how to apply available at

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