Creative UK and ethical finance provider Triodos Bank have launched a £35 million Creative Growth Finance II (CGF II) fund as part of plans to grow the UK creative sector by £50 billion and create one million extra jobs by 2030.
According to Creative UK chief executive Caroline Norbury, there is a risk that the potential of the UK’s creative industries will be unfulfilled if the “creators and innovators […] are unable to access the capital and financing they require”. In a bid to mitigate this risk, Creative UK has invested around £50 million into the UK’s creative industries over the last decade, with the CGF II being the largest ever single fund to be delivered by the organization.
CGF II aims to build on the results of the first Creative Growth Finance fund, which launched in 2019 and saw over £17 million invested into more than 30 creative businesses located across the UK.
As of August 2023, the existing CGF fund portfolio has experienced an 108% improvement of average monthly revenues, a 39% headcount growth average with more than 225 jobs created, and nearly £19 million raised in further third-party funding, according to Creative UK.
The organisation’s investment director Tim Evans says that these statistics are gathered from investees “from 12 months post-investment”. He explains how they evidence the creative sector’s “growth potential” and provide “a clear picture of the promising growth trajectory seen across the first Creative Growth Finance fund’s portfolio post-investment”.
CGF loans are often used “to directly fund headcount growth and the development of new projects that generate more revenue” for investees, says Evans. As well as allowing creative businesses to scale up, he believes the fund has also catalysed “further private investment in the sector”.
Norbury reinforces that, to meet the targets set out in the UK government and Creative Industries Council’s recently published Sector Vision, “crucial investment” is needed. Typically, the Creative Growth Finance II offers investment via debt loans of up to £1 million, with repayment terms of up to a maximum of four years.
Creative UK opted to work with Triodos Bank as it focuses on “delivering positive societal benefits through its lending”, according to Evans. The bank operates in the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium and Germany and only finances companies that focus on people, the environment or culture.
“Established businesses” working within the UK’s creative industries that are looking to “grow and scale” can apply for the fund, says Evans, and there is a full list of eligible creative subsectors, as well as further information regarding the fund on the Creative UK website.
Building on the foundation laid by the previous fund, Evans hopes that CGF II will continue to boost investment in the creative sector, “not only growing the revenue and headcounts of these brilliant companies, but also boosting their capacity to innovate and to leverage the value of their unique creative ideas”.
Banner Image showcases work on Disney’s live-action Pinocchio by virtual production company Dimension, which has completed two rounds of CGF fund investment worth £1 million since December 2021, following earlier loans from Creative UK.