Having been funded by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) in two of my businesses – feasibility funding for Clarity Productions and a current SMART Award for ZoneFutures – I have experienced first-hand the TSB’s role in supporting SMEs in high-risk innovation. At today’s briefing, Iain Gray, the TSB’s CEO, reported that the creative industries form one of the UK’s leading industrial sectors: employing 1.4m people and contribute 5.3% of the country’s output (GVA), with a compound annual growth rate of 4.2% for the UK’s media and entertainment industry forecast to 2016.
The TSB’s Creative Industries Strategy 2013-2016 highlights a number of trends affecting the industry, such as “continued digitisation and convergence, fragmentation of audiences, changing user behaviours and increasing disintermediation”. In response to these opportunities and challenges, the TSB have pledged to invest in excess of £30m (2013-16) to create a “world-beating” support structure for creative businesses. This funding will target three key themes: Convergence, Transactions (valuing and licensing digital content), and Data.
Over £20m is to be committed over the coming months in programmes such as: cross platform innovation of digital media tools and systems (£15m); creation of “frictionless” digital transactional environments (£2.5m); development of Hyperlocal Media Demonstrators (£3.5m); and the Greater Manchester Creative & Digital Launchpad (£1m). In addition, the TSB seeks to support cross-sector collaboration and has established the Creative Industries Knowledge Transfer Network to do so, with the Connected Digital Economy Catapult established to accelerate growth in the sector.