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Kickstart Funding

Kickstart funding is for applications of up to £10,000, and is intended to support early-stage project research and development, and the creation of immersive proof of concepts across AR, VR, and MR platforms. This fund is open only to creators who have participated in StoryFutures Academy training programmes, and are looking to put their new skills into practice and take their next practical steps in developing one of their first immersive projects.

Our 2021 round of kickstart funding is now open.

Kickstart funding 2
Applications for Kickstart Funding are now open!

Application Criteria

Support will only be provided where the applicant can demonstrate that the project is deliverable for the money requested within a defined time period, and where the project specifically addresses the criteria set out below. The applicant also needs to outline how they plan to make the project working remotely with other collaborators due to the on-going Covid-19 situation.

All proposals should seek to:

• Innovate in terms of story form or format, enabled by immersive technologies (i.e. VR, AR, MR and immersive audio technology)
• Draw on known audience behaviours, insights and trends
• Define a target demographic and route to that audience via digital reach or footfall

In this context, immersive technologies refer to:

• Virtual reality (VR)
• Augmented reality (AR)
• Mixed reality (MR)
• Immersive audio technology

This may include Head Mounted Display (HMD) technology, as well as experiences that don’t require an HMD (such as mobile AR). Immersive audio technology includes the use of spatial sound or other augmented audio techniques. Audio-only projects are eligible.

Please note that, while you are free to choose whichever technology or platform best suits your creative idea, StoryFutures Academy is particularly interested in supporting projects that have delivery platforms and distribution methods that are able to reach wide audiences.

Download the brief below for the full eligibility criteria and deliverables.

Our 2021 round of kickstart funding is now open until midnight on Thursday 4th February 2021.

Please make sure to detail the intended deliverables in your application. Decisions will be communicated by email by mid-February.

Download brief


Q: What is SFA Kickstart funding for?

A: The ethos behind kickstart funding is to provide on-the-job learning and skills development opportunities for the creative leads who are looking to upskill in immersive technologies, by making their first immersive experiences. In particular this fund aims to provide an onward journey for those who have started their immersive journey on a StoryFutures Academy training programme, and provide them an opportunity to collaborate with experienced immersive producers.

Q: Who can be a Creative Lead and how experienced do they need to be?

A: The Creative Lead needs to be at a very early stage of their immersive journey. Ideally, the Kickstart project will be one of the first immersive projects they have made. It is intended as a real learning experience for someone who wants to develop their practice in the immersive sector. They can be from a variety of creative fields and can be very experienced in a different area (ie directing, writing, sound design etc).

Q: Does the Creative Lead need to have been on an SFA programme?

Yes the Creative Lead needs to have attended one of the SFA training programmes (not a short masterclass).

Q: What if the Immersive Producer has been on an SFA programme but not the Creative Lead?

A: The Creative Lead must have been on an SFA programme.

Q: What is the role of the Immersive Producer

A: Their role is to guide, support and help deliver the immersive piece. They can be a freelancer, sole trader or working for a company.

Q: Can the Producer and Creative Lead be the same person?

No, we require these to be two separate individuals.

Q: Can I apply if I already have additional funding?

A: Kickstart funding is not intended as top up funding for an existing project. Applicants can apply with in-kind funding or other cash funding if it is also for a prototype or proof of concept. If your project is already funded and in-development then it may already be too advanced to be eligible for this Kickstart fund.

Q: Who should be the lead company?

A: Applicants can submit as a collaborative team but there must be a lead company that will contract with StoryFutures Academy (the only company that will be paid). It is the responsibility of the lead company to arrange any collaborative agreements or subcontracts as necessary. The Lead Company is also usually the IP owner of the project.

Q: When does the kickstart programme start?

Projects will be notified of success in mid-Feb 2021, with contracts being completed shortly after. Development work should start as soon as possible after projects have been notified, but must be completed by the 25th June.

Our 2021 round of kickstart funding is now open until midnight on Thursday 4th February 2021

  • Download the brief on this page
  • Apply below

Applications Close 4th February 2021, Midnight.