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£5 million funding boost for Derby and Nottingham’s creative and digital industries

The Big House programme opens its doors  
 
Derby Theatre is thrilled to be part of The Big House, a £5 million tailored  support programme for the Creative and Digital Industries (CDI) sector in the region.  

Organisations across the D2N2 region (Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire) have come together to launch The Big House programme, part-funded by a £2.5 million contribution from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) via D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership. Match funding has also been secured from the Creative Local Growth Fund programme, funded by Arts Council England. 

The Big House is being launched to improve the ability of the region’s CDI SMEs to start-up and grow, so they can take advantage of the UK’s booming CDI sector, which contributes just over £84 billion a year to the UK economy. Similarly, the number of jobs in the creative industries has risen nearly 20% since 2011 to 1.9 million, according to figures from the Department for Culture, Media & Sport. The creative industries grew by 9% in 2014, almost double the size of the nation’s whole economy growth – and the sector has increased as a proportion of the total UK gross value added (GVA) for four years running. 

The Big House partners include The Creative Quarter company, Nottingham Trent University, The Hive (Nottingham Trent University’s business incubator), the University of Derby, Derby QUAD, New Art Exchange, Derby Theatre, NBV and Nottingham City Council – through their Growth Hub. The partners will also be working closely with Broadway in Nottingham, which is managing paid internships and placements in the creative and digital industries with the support of The University of Nottingham.  

The Big House aims to help many of these businesses to grow and create new jobs in the region, including established SMEs who want to expand and bring new products and services to market for example, and potential entrepreneurs and start-ups, keen to join a thriving UK business sector. The support on offer will include grants, one-to -one advice, support and coaching and peer-to-peer learning and networking events. The programme aims to support over 500 businesses with over £350,000 of grant funding, matched by private investment. 

As part of The Big House, Derby Theatre will be providing a wide range of targeted business support, from workshops to research and development grants, for performing arts professionals and companies. This work will build on the Theatre’s In Good Company programme, which has been instrumental in building the profile and competitiveness of regional creatives working in the performing arts over the last two years. 

Sarah Brigham (Artistic Director & Chief Executive, Derby Theatre) said: “We’re really proud to be part of the consortium behind The Big House initiative. Our role will involve delivering a series of professional masterclasses as well as mentoring and peer-to-peer skill exchange workshops for emerging theatre companies, to develop an exciting new range of performances. This will build on the success of the In Good Company professional development programme for artists in the East Midlands.” 
 
The project will be delivered through a partnership of business support organisations across the local area, with specialist expertise in different aspects of the creative and digital industries. 
The idea behind The Big House programme is to bring together a wide range of support and care for creative and digital businesses at different stages of development, which businesses can access in different ways to suit them, from different partners, in different places – while still being part of a joined-up business support programme. 

Businesses will move through ‘The Big House’ of support, accessing help at the level they need, from entrepreneurs, start-ups and those who face barriers to accessing mainstream business support, through to established, growing small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). 

Best of all, because the programme involves a wide range of partners, businesses will be able to benefit from both specialist expertise, and the diverse, overarching support of a business support programme, without having to ‘sign up’ to lots of individual, disjointed programmes. It’s all here – in one Big House. 

Each of The Big House partners will be delivering a different aspect of the programme.

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