Last updated: 03.08.12

Creative England launch online learning support fund

E-learning courses should be developed through a £1 million Business Investment Fund launched by Creative England.

The initiative is providing finance to small and medium-sized enterprises developing content, applications and software in a range of areas, including healthcare, cross-platform television, government services, business-to-business, interactive entertainment and online learning.

It opened for Registrations of Interest on July 31st and is available across all regions of England in order to support the digital and creative industries.

Interest-free loans of between £50,000 and £100,000 will be provided for every successful application and this money should cover 50 per cent of the development costs.

The company creating the innovation will provide the other half of the required finance.

All applications must be submitted by August 31st and the scheme follows the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills' £5 million grant to Creative England through the Regional Growth Fund.

This should result in the organisation becoming the first dedicated and joined-up support agency for the creative and digital industries outside of London.

Director of business development for Creative England Jim Farmery said he hopes the scheme will "stimulate the development of some really interesting content and applications".

He told the Yorkshire Post: "E-learning and the gaming industry are changing all the time."

There are therefore plenty of opportunities for companies to make money by taking advantage of alterations in the sector, the specialist declared.

It should support initiatives that would have found it difficult to "get off the ground", he added.

Enterprise minister Mark Prisk said the scheme should encourage people to "discover their entrepreneurial spirit and exploit new opportunities".

The finance should result in the creation of "exciting content" and could "boost local economic growth and rebalance the economy", he added.

Applicants' proposals will be shown to an investment panel, which will look for commercially-viable projects led by financially-astute and strong organisations.

Successful bids must have clear business plans, the potential to create jobs and growth and a "defined route to market", Creative England declared.