Yorkshire named UK's leading region for creative industries

Yorkshire has been named as the UK's hotspot for up-and-coming innovative young companies, it can be revealed today.

Thursday, 24th May 2018, 6:19 am
NEWSUBSTANCE created SPIRIT, a structure that will house 3,000 LED lights, use 10km of coloured string, it is 5 metres above the concourse and overall span is 24m x 14m. NEWSUBSTANCE are a UK studio specialising in dramatic, bespoke performance structures and have created pieces for Take That, Mumford & Sons and even the Beijing Olympics. . 17 November 2016. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Creative England’s annual CE50 list of the 50 most talented and able young enterprises contains a total of 10 from Yorkshire, more than any other region.

The list includes games, technology, digital media and film businesses from across the region, with the not-for-profit support agency’s chief executive saying that Yorkshire’s culture, universities and private sector were contributing to the success.

Previous CE50 members have gone on to receive BAFTA nominations, opened international offices, revolutionised the way Western products are sold to the Chinese market and received the prestigious Nora Ephron prize at the Tribeca Film Festival.

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This year’s cohort highlights the move towards technology and creativity merging to create meaningful solutions to real-world problems, with many of the companies championing diversity, and giving a platform to unheard voices.

The 10 Yorkshire firms to have made the CE50 lost for 2018 were: Tyke Films, a Sheffield-based film and documentary firm; Chatta an app developer from Hull; Laser Dog, a Leeds-based game developer; Ocean Spark, a game development studio in Huddersfield; Slanted Theory, a virtual reality business in Sheffield; Fierce Kaiju a Leeds-based game developer; Sheffield Doc/Fest, an event in the city to highlight factual film-making; Happy Goon, a Hull-based greeting card firm using augmented reality; Newsubstance, a tech firm using the likes of drones for entertainment spectacles in Leeds and Production Park, Wakefield-based epicentre for touring artists.

The list is hand-picked by Creative England, which champions and supports the creative sector outside of London.

Caroline Norbury, chief executive of Creative England, told The Yorkshire Post: “Previously Yorkshire had an industrial sector which was based on big employers. This list are includes firms which are much smaller scale but are reaching out globally.

Lost in Vagueness, film by Sofia Olins, receiving its world premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest

“In Yorkshire you have a multiplicity of great universities, a cultural sector which is pretty stellar and a very decent private sector of business like Sky and others who have things like their academies.

“In a city like Hull for example, its City of Culture year shone a spotlight on some great stuff that was already there but also gave that part of the region the confidence to push on.”

Ms Norbury added that she hoped that larger companies, particularly banks, funds and financiers, would increasingly back creative companies with capital, saying they are the industries of the future.

She said: “Smaller companies are doing some really innovative stuff but when it comes to scaling up the work we do they struggle to get the capital they need. Established financiers are often scared of them and are less prepared to take a risk on them. They are more likely to invest in someone who has lots of plant machinery which can be used as capital than they are for someone who makes a drone installation for example.

Creative England's chief executive, Caroline Norbury

“We want to work with financiers to make them aware of what there is on offer from the things these companies do.”

Ms Norbury also told The Yorkshire Post that the attitude amongst established lenders was changing but that the process was “a long and winding road”.

Creative fact file:

Leeds has more than 3,000 creative businesses, employing a total of 17,365 people.

In Sheffield the sector contributed £248.12 million to the local economy, and 7,230 people are employed in the creative industries.

Meanwhile Huddersfield has 895 creative business contributing £73.82 million to the local economy.

Hull has 7,008 digital tech jobs and a digital GVA of £402m.

The UK’s creative sector is worth £92bn according to the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport.

As many as 90 per cent of creative firms say they struggle to access finance.