The new Prototype Fund announced in the July Budget, following concerted lobbying by Ukie, has been launched today.
The Fund will have £4 million over the next four years with which to aid access to finance for both present and future games talent.
The Video Games Prototype Fund, run by the UK Games Talent and Finance CIC, will provide grants of up to £25k to help businesses turn ideas into working prototypes, used to attract private investment. Young and start-up companies will benefit from the scheme, which is aimed at small and micro-businesses in the UK games industry. An emphasis will also be on nurturing new talent in the sector, with mentoring opportunities and skills support being provided along with the financial backing to successful applicants to the fund.
The project takes over from the Abertay Fund, which supported many earlier businesses to access finance when it ran from 2010 to 2014.
Access to finance is an ongoing problem for fledgling games development businesses attempting to create and retain new Intellectual Property. This financial and business support in the early stages of a studio’s opening will bridge the gap until private investment can be procured. Support for smaller, regional companies will indirectly help larger companies by developing the talent pipeline and stimulating the creation of more IP in the UK.
Successful grant applications will be decided upon published criteria, including potential for commercial success, viability and scalability.
CEO of Ukie, Dr Jo Twist, responded to the announcement, saying:
We lobbied for this kind of support and we are pleased to see the Fund launch. It has enormous potential for the future of the UK games industry. Access to finance has been an on-going challenge for small and micro games businesses, and the financial support of the fund, as well as the mentoring opportunities that are provided, will open doors to a huge amount of unearthed games talent in the UK. Ukie is really proud to continue to support this project. It is one more step towards the UK becoming a world leader in games development.
Further information about how to apply for the Video Games Prototype Fund and the criteria can be found on their website.