9 Feb

Dozens of businesses apply for £1.3m Create Growth East Midlands


Fifty creative businesses in the East Midlands have already applied for places on the East Midlands Create Growth – just weeks after the programme went live.

East Midlands Creative Consortium (EMC²) began accepting applications from high-potential creative businesses on January 23 after winning more than £1.3 million of Government funding.

The free programme of support will ultimately work with 100 regional businesses to help them accelerate business growth, create jobs, and prepare for investment.


Harri Georgio at HQ Recording in Leicester. Picture by Hubert Kotlicki.


The project will run across four cohorts between this Spring and 2025. Successful applicants will be based in Leicester and Leicestershire, Derby and Derbyshire, Lincoln and Greater Lincolnshire, and Rutland.

The initial response to the new EMC² website was outlined last night during a sold-out event for creative businesses staged as part of this year’s Leicestershire Innovation Festival.

HQ Recording Studios hosted a packed event on the theme of how to build an agile creative community. It outlined work being done to tackle the sector’s scale-up challenge at HQ Familia – a collective of creative entrepreneurs working together to bridge the gap between microbusiness and the SME status often needed to tap into growth funding.

As well as live performances from singers Harri Georgio and Ffion Rebecca, speakers included HQ Managing Director Yasin El Ashrafi BEM, who described the vision to build a creative community that could collectively pitch for larger projects and work.

Also speaking were Dr Allan Taylor, Associate Professor of Media Production at De Montfort University Leicester, who outlined the creative opportunity in the East Midlands, and Stewart Smith, Head of Skills and Employment at the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP), who summarised Create Growth.


Stewart Smith at HQ Recording in Leicester. Picture by Hubert Kotlicki.


The creative industry is worth more than £100 billion to the UK economy and accounts for 2.3 million jobs. The vast majority of regional creative jobs are with microbusinesses and the programme is intended to help them to grow and provide further employment.

EMC² was created to lead the Create Growth East Midlands programme after a LLEP-led consortium provided one of six successful regional bids for Government funding. It is backed by a coalition of partners including regional universities, Innovate UK, local businesses, and non-profit organisations.