Business Minister Edwina Hart said the £500,000 Fund will provide non-repayable seed funding to support the development of new creative products and services that can be exploited across multiple digital platforms and in international markets.
The announcement was made by the Minister during a visit to S8080, a small, dynamic digital media agency based in Swansea, and an example of the kind of business in the creative industries sector that could potentially benefit from the Fund.
The Minister said that funding for the sector has primarily been through large grants that are often inappropriate for many small companies developing new ways of exploiting creative ideas.
“The Digital Development Fund will be flexible because we know that some digital development projects may require funding as low as £5000 and in some cases even less. The Hargreaves Review highlighted the need for this type of specialist funding; that view is supported by the Creative Industries Advisory panel and I am delighted to launch it to-day.
“It is geared to help accelerate the growth of creative industries businesses in Wales which is a key priority and I also hope it will encourage businesses to exploit IP through the use of digital media.”
Cube Interactive, a leading digital media company, called for the Welsh Government to make seed funding available for digital innovation when consulted during the Hargreaves Review.
Gwyn Roberts, director of Cube Interactive, has welcomed the new fund: "One of the conclusions of the Hargreaves Report into the Creative Industries sector in Wales was that digital media could make a significant contribution to economic growth and should be supported more actively by the Welsh Government.
“ I welcome the launch of this fund, which will help companies like ours to innovate and develop new digital services in Wales."
The fund provides funding of up to £50,000, as a contribution of up to 50% of the total costs of each approved project . Examples where the fund could be used include the development of video games prototypes; new digital applications (“apps”); internal digital systems to improve productivity; pilots of online productions; protecting copyright and transforming live performances to digital platforms.
During the pilot period the creative industries team will monitor demand and outputs and report to the Minister on the long-term viability of the fund after ten months.
The new Fund supports Digital Wales, the Welsh Government’s strategy to make Wales a truly digital nation by 2020. The strategy will help to grow the digital economy, improve e-Skills, provide better online public services and deliver faster broadband infrastructure and enhance mobile coverage.