News - 01 December 2016

£4.9m to help creative and digital businesses develop

Artists, designers and website gurus will be able to give their business more byte thanks to a £4.9million investment in the creative and digital industries, in the D2N2 Local Partnership’s area.

D2N2 – the private sector-led partnership which promotes economic and jobs’ growth across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire – wants to help area companies in the creative and digital industries (CDI) sector to expand and attract new customers.

A new programme – the Creative and Digital Industries D2N2 Consortium for increased SME Competitiveness – will launch this year (2016) and is due to last three years. CDI is one of the D2N2 LEP’s chosen eight key sectors.

A £2.4m investment will come from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) portion of D2N2’s larger €250million in European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF); EU funding to be spent over six years (up to 2020) on projects which help SMEs to be more competitive and expand their operations.

ERDF Logo 2014-2020

This project is part-funded by the European Social Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 in England.

The other half of the £4.9m total funding will come from programme partners. It will be led by Nottingham City Council in partnership with a consortium which includes the city’s Creative Quarter company, as well as New Art Exchange, Nottingham Trent University, NBV Enterprise Solutions and Broadway Cinema in Nottinghamshire; and Derby QUAD, Derby Theatre and the University of Derby in Derbyshire.

The programme will offer services to businesses across the D2N2 area under the brand name of ‘The Big House’. SMEs, who it is thought will be mostly referred for help after contacting the D2N2 Growth Hub or attending a Big House public event, will be able to get advice on:

  • Getting established, if they are a start-up company.
  • Accessing grants and business management help which enables their company to grow, become more efficient and bring products to market more quickly.
  • A high growth programme, aimed at firms seen as having the greatest growth potential (digital enterprises are a fast growing part of the sector across the D2N2 area).
  • Additional projects to grow the numbers of black and ethnic minority employees, and women workers, who are currently under-represented in the CDI sector.

Many of the programme’s services will be offered online. It is estimated that around 500 CDI sector businesses will be helped over the project’s three years.

The Big House project also received £500,000 from Arts Council England, in February (2016), and will additionally attract private sector backing.

Peter Richardson, Chair of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We have a growing creative and digital industries sector, often in need of sound business advice on how to expand. D2N2’s new programme aims to address their needs.

“Our £2.4million investment in this initiative and the wide range of partners we are engaging, across both of our counties, shows the LEP’s commitment to this key sector.”

Commenting on The Big House project Cllr Nick McDonald – Portfolio Holder for Business, Growth and Transport at Nottingham City Council – added: “Nottingham City Council is the accountable body for The Big House programme because we increasingly value the contribution of the creative and digital industries to job creation, wealth generation and the reputation of the city.

“This programme has come about through the collaboration of a wide range of partners, working to simplify the access points for SMEs and businesses. It is fantastic news that such a diverse range of support will be available to this sector, and we know this will further fuel the growth of this priority sector across the city and the region.”

The new CDI programme will complement the £4.8million the D2N2 LEP has already put into two major county council-run schemes – Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire and Digital Derbyshire – which are expanding domestic and business properties’ access to faster broadband internet services, particularly in more isolated areas.

For more information on the Big House project contact Steph Robertson, Communications and Media Manager at Nottingham’s Creative Quarter on 0115 7100107, or by email:

To learn more about how the D2N2 LEP is using its €250million in European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) to help businesses and grow its area’s economy see the LEP’s website at

For further information about this media release contact D2N2 Communications Manager Sean Kirby on 0115 9578749 or email:

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