The FAQs below provide further information to help you decide if Creative East is right for you. If you’d like to discuss any points with a Creative East team member contact us: creativeeast@uea.ac.uk

About Creative East

Registered businesses from the Creative Industries sectors (listed below) based in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire or Peterborough. The company should be looking to grow and see that taking on investment will be part of that growth plan.

Eligible businesses will:

  • Be registered on Companies House
  • Be a creative industry business
  • Be employing at least 2 people over the last two years (either FT, PT or freelancers)
  • Have a turnover growth of 10% year on year over approximately 3 years
  • Have created a revenue generating product, launched a new platform or services
  • Have generated a sales revenue in the last 2 years

What counts as a Creative Industry?

You can be a registered business working in any of these areas (this is the DCMS definition of creative industries):

  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Architecture
  • Crafts
  • Design
  • Fashion
  • Film, TV, Video
  • IT, Software, Video Games and Computer Services
  • Museums, Galleries and Libraries
  • Music, Performing and Visual Arts
  • Publishing
  • Radio and Photography

We know there are particular local strengths and clusters of companies in the screen industry and games developers, but the programme is open to any company operating in the creative space.

Yes, completely free. We will not charge for any of the support we give you or take commission from anyone. We will not take an equity stake in your business. That means we can be completely impartial and honest, giving you the very best advice for your specific situation.

About your eligibility

If your business is registered elsewhere (for example in London) then you can still apply to Creative East if you can evidence that your business operates in our area (Norfolk, Suffolk, Peterborough and Cambridgeshire).  The evidence may include your operational base address, having employees here or other evidence of significant activity.

The Creative East programme is designed to help businesses get investment ready – so you need to be legally constituted and registered with Companies House.  That means freelancers and sole traders won’t be eligible to apply.  CICs limited by guarantee do not have the legal structure to take on investment but those limited by shares do. If you are a CIC and are unsure if you are eligible, please contact us to discuss.

If you are unsure if you can apply for the programme but are a business in the Creative Industries sectors as listed above, do please get in touch with our team who can advise.

About the programme

Creative East will take creative businesses through a series of specialist seminars and masterclasses, roundtable sessions, pitching sessions, one-to-one support from our pool of experts and specialists and networking events to get businesses in the right shape to be able to take on investment to help them grow. It could be that businesses are looking to look for investment in the short term, or it could be that they would like to take on investment in the future so would like to be prepared early.

Each cohort will have 12 weeks of specialist sessions (with breaks to take account of school holidays).  Businesses will have access to one to one support from their advisors as well as bespoke mentoring sessions during this time as well as beyond.

Each cohort will have in person sessions and events as well as online activities. Summer 2023 will take place in Norwich (April to July 2023, Autumn 2023 in Ipswich (September to December 2023), Spring 2024 in Cambridge (March to June 2024) and Summer 2024 in Peterborough (September to December 2024).  You choose which programme location best fits your needs and schedule.

The sessions are not mandatory, however to get the most out of the programme we advise that businesses attend as many of the sessions as possible. Masterclasses will be filmed and so any missed will be available for viewing.

Not directly, however, the Investment Readiness Programme will give you access to a range of investors and investment fund managers which will widen your contacts. And as part of the Create Growth national programme, Innovate UK are running funding competitions, to facilitate business growth in the selected regions. Competition 2 is in development and will be launched in Autumn 2023. Creative businesses in the Creative East region will be eligible for the competitions.

The Creative East delivery team will be able to help you decide what would be right for your business as part of the business support. The team can also advise how to access other types of funding.


Fully funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)

Delivered and managed by:

  • Anglia Ruskin University Peterborough
  • Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority
  • Innovate UK
  • New Anglia - Local Enterprise PArtnership for Norfolk and Suffolk
  • Norfolk County Council
  • Suffolk County Council
  • University of East Anglia Innovation Funding
  • University of Suffolk