Creative and digital companies heard yesterday about a new £4.9million support and funding programme called ‘The Big House’ to help grow their business, at an event in Nottingham City Centre.
The event was held at Antenna Nottingham yesterday (December 6) and featured speakers from the D2N2 Growth Hub, Nottingham City Council, the Creative Quarter, Derby QUAD, Futures Advice Skills and Employment and the University of Nottingham. They told the audience about support on offer to help creative and digital businesses develop and expand.
The Creative and Digital Industries D2N2 Consortium for increased SME Competitiveness programme will be run under the brand name of ‘The Big House’.
It is receiving £2.45m investment 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. The other half of the £4.9m total funding will come from programme partners.
The Big House programme is also supported by match funding provided by Arts Council England – from their strategic Creative Local Growth Fund. The programme will be managed by Nottingham City Council and delivered by an experienced consortium which includes the city’s Creative Quarter company, New Art Exchange, the Hive at Nottingham Trent University, NBV Enterprise Solutions and Broadway Cinema in Nottinghamshire; and Derby QUAD, Derby Theatre and the University of Derby in Derbyshire. All activities will be delivered across the D2N2 region
Simon Hall, D2N2 Growth Hub Manager, opened yesterday’s event by talking about D2N2 Growth Hub services, and how these can be used to help businesses in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire flourish. The D2N2 Growth Hub is part of the D2N2 LEP – a partnership of businesses, local authorities, skills and training providers and community and voluntary organisations which works to grow the D2N2 economy – which provides free and impartial business support and advice across its area. To date the D2N2 Growth Hub has helped over 3,000 businesses and it recently received a further £1.27million from Government, to guarantee its services to businesses until at least 2019.
Kathy McArdle, Chief Executive of Nottingham’s Creative Quarter (pictured) and Adam Buss, Chief Executive of Derby QUAD, presented as part of the wider consortium, on what The Big House can deliver to D2N2 area businesses. Some of the programme’s services will be offered online, but the programme contains an accelerator, business engagement events, peer to peer networking events, showcase events, business coaching, and grants. It is estimated that around 500 creative and digital businesses will be helped over the project’s three years.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (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:
- Becoming established if they are a start-up company.
- Accessing grants and business management help enabling companies 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 creative and digital industries sector across the D2N2 area).
Also speaking at the free event was the University of Nottingham, whose representative spoke about helping businesses grow through innovation; and the Nottingham-based agency Futures Advice, Skills and Employment Ltd, who discussed how businesses can access help with graduate recruitment and apprenticeships.
The Big House funding will complement the £4.8million investment the D2N2 LEP has already put into two major county council-run schemes – Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire and Digital Derbyshire – which are currently 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 710 0107, or email: email@example.com .
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 www.d2n2lep.org/EUFunding
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