East Anglia: University scoops �4.5m funding for creative industries

A �4.5M uplift in European funding to the Low Carbon Innovation Fund (LCIF), based at the University of East Anglia, will result in an overall boost of �10m to the fund, to enable it to be extended to the creative industries.

The newly announced addition to the existing fund of �8 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will be matched by private co-investment and means that around �30 million in all will be invested in businesses in the East of England which want to improve their carbon footprint.

“In tough times, it is very pleasing to be able to invest in the region’s creative industries,” said Dr Richard Harvey, Dean of UEA London and Chair of the LCIF Investment Committee.

“This is the first time that venture funding has been available in the region for companies such as film studios and game developers to develop ways of changing to become low carbon organisations.”

Eligible companies in the creative industry could include a film studio that wants to lower its carbon footprint when moving equipment between filming sites, or a gaming company which wants to build a green computer suite.

Recent investigations have shown that there is a real need for financial support to be provided for SMEs in the creative sector in the eastern region, due to the current lack of available funds and difficulty in securing loans and other finance.

The additional funding now made available underlines UEA’s commitment to supporting the creative industries, and its desire to increase low carbon thinking in local businesses.

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Vice-Chancellor, Edward Acton, said: “The creative industries make a tremendous contribution to the eastern region and the University itself plays an important role in this field. We have many graduates working in the media, the arts, film and computer design, for example.

“I am delighted that we are able to give businesses working in these areas the benefit of our long-standing expertise in carbon reduction programmes, in addition to the support we are already providing for energy and engineering companies.”

The LCIF is a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) supported venture capital fund. The fund will make early-stage equity investments into small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) within the East of England that are developing new and innovative products or processes in a low carbon, environmentally sensitive manner to stimulate the low-carbon economy.

LCIF aims to provide approximately 40% of funding for each investment, matched by approx 60% from private co-investment. The LCIF portion ranges from �50K to �500K. However, there are no limits to the amount of co-investment. A legacy fund will be established to help more companies using the profit generated by the Fund.

The additional funding comes soon after the announcement of a �6m contribution by the ERDF to a new Enterprise Centre at the University of East Anglia, which aims to support local companies and foster new business start-ups among staff and students across the Norwich Research Park.