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Seed fund win for Creative Capital

11 August 2020

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A Cardiff University led consortium has won £50k in seed funding as it bids to transform the Cardiff Capital Region's (CCR) media sector from a strong regional cluster into a global hub for media innovation.

The government funding provided through UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund will help Cardiff and their partners - broadcasters, regional SMEs in media production and technology, universities in the region and screen industry experts - across the CCR develop a full-scale pitch for up to £50m through the Strength in Places Fund by November 2020.

Creative Capital is led by Cardiff University’s Creative Economy Unit who run Clwstwr, an R&D programme for the screen sector in South Wales in partnership with University of South Wales and Cardiff Metropolitan University, and Creative Cardiff, a city network for creative professionals. Creative Capital aims to design and operate a high-performing ecosystem to grow the region’s media economy and embed it as an economic stimulus for other regional sectors.

Justin Lewis, Professor of Communication at Cardiff University and Director of Clwstwr said: “After the devastating impact of COVID-19, the need for digital innovation in the creative sector has never been more critical. Cardiff is already internationally recognised for film and TV production and the consortium will build on this regional strength to help create a global hub for media innovation.

“UK broadcasters, small local businesses and freelancers will work together to research and develop new products and services for global markets, fuelling business and employment growth in the media sector and its suppliers.”

Film and television production forms a significant part of the CCR local economy, with more than 600 firms contributing £350 million in a sector that includes film, broadcast, games and digital content. Those working in media comprise 7% (and rising) of the region's workforce - one of highest sectoral concentrations in the UK.

Sara Pepper, Director of Creative Economy, Cardiff University and Chief Operating Officer, Clwstwr, said: “The region needs capacity, integration and a skills pipeline to systematically exploit the demands of growing global markets, and to invent, create and own innovation."

Our bid to develop a Creative Capital will allow us to transform the region's media sector into a high performing ecosystem that can overcome existing limitations to be more than the sum of its parts.

Sara Pepper Director of Creative Economy

Cllr Huw Thomas, Leader of Cardiff Council, said:“It’s fantastic news that Creative Capital Strength in Places bid has been shortlisted by UK Research and Innovation, and is testament to both the status of our creative sector in Wales, as well as the work of the Clwstwr and Creative Cardiff teams who have been fundamental in the success of the bid. Our city is internationally recognised for its work in the sector, especially within film and TV production, and the Creative Capital Strength in Places bid will only help cement our position as one of the world’s leading creative clusters.”

Director of BBC Cymru Wales Rhodri Talfan Davies said: “The creative industries are facing their toughest challenge yet and I welcome this opportunity to kick-start a collaborative and innovative response in the wake of the global pandemic. The industry in Cardiff and the rest of Wales has a proven track record for producing world-class content across many genres. This is a fantastic opportunity to harness the creative spirit further and help deliver a multi-platform approach to transform the industry into a global force.”

Managing Director of Boom Cymru, Nia Thomas, said: “This is fantastic news for the screen sector in the Cardiff Capital Region during what has been a very difficult time for media production. Connectivity across the cluster has been steadily increasing in the past few years, as has collaborative working, and the Creative Capital bid will encourage this to grow further. I believe there is great potential and ambition in our sector, in its people and their ideas and Creative Capital is a welcome opportunity to realise that globally.”

Cardiff’s final submission to UKRI will compete against 16 other bids from UK regions for full funding which will be announced in 2021.

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