A new partnership between Cheshire East Council and Creative England has been launched to provide an initial investment fund of £200,000 to support the growth of small and medium-sized businesses within Cheshire East.
The Cheshire East digital growth programme is part of the Council's wider efforts to support the digital sector to stimulate growth by providing them with funding, opportunities and specialist support.
The programme is targeted only at eligible companies operating in the digital sector – such as digital media, web design and software development (including games and app development) e-commerce and software solutions – and targeted at businesses looking to scale-up via the development of existing or new technology, products and services.
Prospective applications must be able to demonstrate a clear market opportunity and the ability to generate additional investment as well as growth in the form of job creation and/or safeguarding. Funding will be available as equity investments, loans and revenue-sharing arrangements.
The digital growth programme will be managed on behalf of the Council by the newly-established ‘arms-length’ Skills and Growth Company, via their business engagement team. For more information on the digital growth fund visit: www.skillsandgrowth.co.uk/digitalgrowthfund
Councillor Paul Bates, chairman of the Skills and Growth Company, said: “We are looking to support a small number of businesses with real growth potential and help them with a programme of intensive support and funding.
“The digital sector in Cheshire East is vibrant and growing and we are determined to help ensure this growth in sustained and that we have a thriving and world-class digital sector in Cheshire East.”
The launch of the fund was welcomed by Denise Proctor, chair of Weave – the taskforce set up to guide and support the Council's work to support the creative and digital sector.
She said: “The launch of this programme will bring a much-needed boost to the digital sector and support some of our brightest minds to expand their businesses and grasp opportunities in this expanding field.”
The programme was launched at the Business Rocks conference in Manchester, where Cheshire East and the Skills and Growth Company hosted a ‘Make the Cheshire Connection’ stand to help promote the creative and digital sector to investors and prospective clients.