The Creative Industry Finance pilot programme, delivered by us at Creative United and funded by Arts Council England, was launched in May 2012 and provided free business development support and loans of between £5,000 and £25,000 to micro, small and medium size creative industry enterprises in London and Yorkshire and the Humber.

The initiative was designed to test the demand and effectiveness of loan finance as an alternative to grant funding, and supported Arts Council England’s priority for ensuring that the arts are sustainable, resilient and innovative, as set out in its 10 year strategy (2010 – 2020), Great Art and Culture for Everyone.

See our evaluation report for more about the outcomes and successes

The principle aims of the Creative Industry Finance (CIF) pilot programme were to:

  • provide access to finance for micro, small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) operating within the cultural/creative industries, enabling business growth and supporting talent development.
  • improve the business skills and commercial experience of SMEs operating within the cultural/creative industries.
  • improve the financial profile/lending history of creative industry SMEs with growth potential, enabling them to attract further investment from the private sector, thereby becoming more sustainable as independent enterprises.
  • provide an evidence base for the demand and effectiveness of debt finance as an alternative to grant funding for commercially viable cultural and creative industry enterprises.

The two year pilot programme was funded by Arts Council England using strategic funds (Grant in aid) which provided both revenue funding for the delivery of the programme, as well as the capital funds used for on-lending, and was delivered by us, in partnership with the East London Small Business Centre and the Key Fund.

Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy were commissioned to conduct an independent evaluation of the pilot programme. .