Grant Funds for SMEs (startups, small and medium size businesses)
This is a list of current grant funding opportunities for UK games and digital businesses.
There are many different grant-funding opportunities available for small to medium size UK businesses in the games and digital space. However, all have specific things they are looking for, all come with various requirements and many require match funding, so the funds you consider applying for should be carefully selected.
We try to make this list as comprehensive and up to date as possible, if we have missed any please contribute and contact us.
InnovateUK (previously Technology Strategy Board – TSB)
Currently runs several schemes, the most relevant of which are listed:
IC tomorrow: runs contests throughout the year on specific topics, with around £35k awarded to winners who work with a large company to develop their digital solution.
SMART: Supports tech R&D projects, through Proof of Market (up to £25k), Proof of Concept (up to £100k) and Development of Prototype (up to £250k). Match funding up to 60%.
Innovation Vouchers: Up to £5k to pay for an external expert to help your business grow.
Launchpad initiative: Up to £100k to turn an innovative idea into a commercial project. Run in different areas around the UK 3 times a year.
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP): Up to £80k to work with a university, which covers part of the cost of a graduate working in your company n a specific innovation project, as well as getting support from university researchers. To apply for this, you should contact a university and organise it with them.
Horizon 2020: A large EU Research and Innovation program, with a section for small to medium businesses, and a focus on technical innovation. Suitable for projects that are fairly advance in prototyping, have piloted their technology and want to take it to market.
Creative England: Run various funding competitions from £25k – £150k, mostly regional but covers many regions. Match funding usually minimum 50%, and usually judged on job creation or safeguarding.
Creative Europe: This fund covers all types of media with specific calls, including calls for video games. The amount of funding varies, but is often between €10k – €150k, 50% match funded.
Scottish Enterprise Runs various schemes for Scottish companies or those who will have an impact on Scottish employment. The most relevant are:
Regional Selective Assistance (RSA): Up to 35% of operating costs, for projects that will directly result in creation or safeguarding of jobs in Scotland.
R&D grant: for development of new projects to improve competitiveness and benefit Scottish economy.
SMART: SCOTLAND: Support both feasibility studies (60-70% match funding) up to £100k, and R&D projects (35% match funding, up to £600k).
Creative Scotland Has various funds that support projects including:
Open Project Funding: From £1k to £150k.
Targeted Funding: Specific funding calls that run across the year, including those run by partners of Creative Scotland.
Regular Funding: Minimum £150k funding over 3 years.
Northern Ireland Screen ‘Project Development’ Fund: Between £10k-£200k for project development. Between 50%-90% match funding.
UKTI: Provides support for export, including part funding for attending events and marketing materials. UKTI funding is run regionally; contact your local UKTI representative, they will be able to help you find out what you might eligible for, it may vary depending upon you location.
Welsh Government’s Digital Development Fund: This fund will 50% match fund a project for companies based in Wales, up to £50k.
Birmingham Post Growth Fund: in Partnership with Bournville College, Funds from £10k – £100k, providing 25% match funding, for projects that will create new jobs and help businesses grow. Its available for companies in Birmingham, Coventry and Solihull. The current round of funding closes on Friday 11th September 2015.
Let’s Grow North East / Let’s Grow North East & East Yorkshire: Funded by the Regional Growth Fund, this grant varies slightly in the two regions, but can provide £25k+ in funding, which can be between 10-30% of total project costs.