Businesses across the city are being reminded that time is ticking if they want to apply for a grant of up to £1 million to support growth and expansion.
The Nottingham Technology Grant Fund (N’Tech) was launched in April this year. So far 22 companies have secured over £1.797 million worth of grants which should secure 350 jobs and future prosperity for these businesses. A further 23 applications are currently being reviewed by Nottingham City Council to a value of £3.6 million.
Nottingham City Council secured £10 million from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund for the Nottingham Technology Grant Fund operates a rolling application process until the end of 2014.
N’Tech helps fast track the development plans of businesses, with grants of between £20,000 and £1 million, and is geared towards the growing life science, digital content and clean technology sectors. The fund is focused on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the Greater Nottingham area.
Cllr Nick McDonald Portfolio Holder for Jobs and Growth commented. “Nottingham City Council is absolutely committed to supporting local businesses through the measures contained in The Growth Plan, and a key element of this is ensuring that access to finance is there when needed. We urge businesses who are taking stock of the past year and looking to 2014 to consider N’Tech as an option for their development. It’s important that the right businesses come forward and take advantage of the scheme in the months to come.”
Antenna based Legendary Games is one of the firms that has already benefitted from £43,000 from N’Tech. They are one very few companies in the world that is building multi-player strategy games that can be played at any time, from any device with a web browser.
Left to right: Ewan Lamont (Co-Founder, Legendary Games), Craig Chettle (Director, Confetti Media Group)
Founded in 2010, Ewan Lamont and Dr Gavin Rummery, both with a background in the PC and console video game industry. Their vision was to build a company that carves a niche in the growing online games on social platforms market, not just on PCs, but on any device with a browser, including games consoles, mobile phones and tablets, even e-readers.
The business currently employs five people and is set to expand in the next year. Dr Gavin Rummery as had a wide ranging game development experience spanning 16 years, including the original Tomb Raider games.
The N’Tech grant will help strengthen its team and tackle two specific challenges to improve the performance and look of the games it develops, to make them more attractive in a very competitive market. It will also help the company to make the games more visible to their key markets, for example by making them available via ‘app stores’.
Speaking about the N’Tech grant, Ewan Lamont said: “The N’Tech grant has meant we will be able to take on an extra 10 people in the next year, from software engineers to administrators. This expanded team will allow us to develop more games and get to market much more quickly. In such a fast-moving industry, we have to maximise our chances of being competitive and this grant helps us to do this. We are also hoping to nurture young local talent by taking on a number of apprentices.
“Nottingham has an excellent gaming pedigree, being the home of tabletop strategy games, and the supply of top ranking art and support talent makes it a very creative environment. It is an attractive place to grow a digital business, rents are very affordable and support for enterprise is very visible and easily accessible. The City is also a draw for potential employees, with the mix of culture, leisure and retail on offer.”
The Growth Plan, which is a Nottingham City Council and business-led economic strategy, is aimed at developing a highly skilled science and technology based low-carbon economy by 2020. Since its launch in July 2012, the Nottingham Growth Plan – one of the most ambitious strategies of the UK’s ‘Core Cities’ and including the £60 million City Deal – has made over £49 million of finance available to Nottingham businesses.
N’Tech has been devised to support businesses looking for funding for the exploitation of intellectual property, the development of new technologies or investment in capital Infrastructure. It is therefore also ideal for manufacturing businesses.
Dr Dan King, Head of Knowledge Transfer at The University of Nottingham, said: “At the University of Nottingham, our staff work with many small and medium sized local businesses across the city to help them to innovate. However, one of the all too common barriers to innovation that businesses face is a lack of funding.
“An N’Tech grant has the potential to give Nottingham companies a real advantage. It offers businesses in key sectors the funding that they need to develop and commercialise novel technologies and to invest in the facilities and equipment that they require in order to exploit these new ideas. The grant in itself can make a huge difference to a business, but it is also invaluable in helping to leverage additional investment. This provides Nottingham businesses with vital funding to give them the all-important competitive edge that they need in today’s global marketplace.”
Source: Nottingham City Council