EM3 LEP gives £1m boost to StoryFutures' business network impacted by COVID-19
Enterprise M3 LEP has invested £900,000 in the StoryFutures project to help SMEs in the immersive and creative tech sectors recover and thrive following the impact of COVID-19.
The 'Creative Tech Growth Booster' for StoryFutures, based at Royal Holloway, University of London, will offer businesses new markets and increase their productivity by opening the doors to cutting-edge technology to diversify and develop their own products and services, while ensuring covid-safety requirements are met.
The Booster project will be the first to get off the ground with funding from EM3’s allocation of the government’s Get Building Fund. It will extend the state-of-the-art technology base at the Egham campus, embedding it within the R&D and technical support team of StoryFutures and its Academy, the National Centre for Immersive Storytelling.
Sue Littlemore, Head of Policy and Strategy at EM3 LEP said: 'The Enterprise M3 area has a rich and diverse creative sector with great strengths in innovation in technology. This investment will mean our creative tech sectors will be supported to be able to continue product development, diversification and innovation to save and create jobs, despite the impact of the pandemic.'
Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP said: 'I am delighted that a £900,000 Getting Building Fund investment will support the Creative Tech Growth Booster project at Royal Holloway. Expanding the university’s stellar technology base will help foster world-leading creative industries in Surrey and beyond. Now more than ever, it is crucial we provide our creative industries with the resources and opportunities they need to succeed.'
StoryFutures director, Professor James Bennett, added: 'Funding from our partners is absolutely crucial to positioning the region’s creative industries as a world leader. In a crisis such as the current pandemic, innovation can be the first budget cut in creative industries whilst companies focus on core business. Without the ability to invest in the constantly changing technological landscape of this space by themselves, the region’s leading creative industries will be left behind. We look forward to watching the sector evolve in the very near future.'
StoryFutures' offer to SMEs includes access to technology and facilities such as AI and cutting-edge immersive, virtual production and the Centre of Digital Creativity’s 360 sound environments. A virtual audience testbed for testing and insight will be made available, too.
The university is also offering incubation and hot-desk space for social distancing, and immersive travel kits which include green screen background, camera, motion trackers, specialist audio equipment and remote support to set up.