Scheme launches to help SMBs design digital tools

A new programme aims to help SMBs in the creative industries develop digital tools for businesses.

Non-profit organisation Creative England is behind the scheme, and has poured 250,000 into the initiative, but it is seeking a corporate sponsor to match its funding.

The group's CEO, Caroline Norbury MBE, said: "As digital technology becomes increasingly important to a range of industry sectors, more big brands are starting to wise up to the immense benefits of outsourcing innovation by collaborating with small creative disruptors."

It believes that products coming out of the project could apply to industries like healthcare, retail, insurance, education and hospitality.

The programme builds on Creative England existing work to help SMBs access funding and expertise from large multinational companies such as Microsoft, Disney and Playstation, and organisations like the BBC. In turn, it believes large companies benefit from the fresh thinking and innovative solutions of young start-ups.

Creative and digital SMBs in the UK already contribute 76.9 billion to the economy, according to Creative England.

A national call for submissions will begin later this year after Creative Nation's funding is matched.

Digital economy minister Ed Vaizey, who helped promote the scheme at Google's London campus this week, said: "Government is already helping to create the right environment for UK businesses to continue to grow, so I am delighted to launch the new Creative Nation programme bringing large organisations and smaller companies together.

"It will encourage big businesses from across the UK to explore the boundless possibilities for growth and innovation that the UK's many small, but exceptionally talented, creative businesses can offer."

Caroline Preece

Caroline has been writing about technology for more than a decade, switching between consumer smart home news and reviews and in-depth B2B industry coverage. In addition to her work for IT Pro and Cloud Pro, she has contributed to a number of titles including Expert Reviews, TechRadar, The Week and many more. She is currently the smart home editor across Future Publishing's homes titles.

You can get in touch with Caroline via email at