Strike Gamelabs commercial director and games finance expert Ella Romanos discusses her new role at Tenshi Grants

‘Understanding the funding landscape can be a minefield’

Ella Romanos has been extremely busy of late. She’s working as commercial director of her new studio Strike Gamelabs, has just formed Altara Games to provide developers loans against games tax relief and recently joined Tenshi Grants to lead the expansion of its services.

At Tenshi, she aims to help more studios gain access to the funding options available to them. The firm aims to act as a middle-man of sorts. Set up by Ian Baverstock in 2013, it offers grant writing and support services, and assesses a project for its suitability for grant funding as well as write a studio’s funding applications.

Romanos said that though she continues to work at her own studio Strike Gamelabs, she wants to help others get the funding they need, and may not even realise they can get.

"Being a developer is important to me, and I think helps me to be more effective as a consultant, as I understand the challenges and realities of running your own business and developing games," she said.

Romanos stated there are numerous grants open to studios that developers should be aware of. These include various regional grants for Wales, Scotland, the South West, Midlands and the North East, and the UKTI who provide support towards exports – such as going to events abroad and marketing materials.

InnovateUK meanwhile provides grants of up to £250,000 for “technology innovation projects”, and EU grant fund Horizon 2020 can potentially offer even bigger grants for such ventures.

Romanos also said the Prototype Fund, originally administered by Abertay University, will be reopening soon, ideal for anyone looking to prototype a game concept.

Despite all these funding options open to studios across the UK, are developers taking advantage of the grants available to them? Romanos says the short answer is no.

"I think there are several reasons, one of which is that understating the funding landscape can be a minefield and very time consuming,” she said.

“Another is that the application process and the management of the project once you receive funding can be complex and time consuming. I hope that Tenshi Grants can help developers overcome these challenges somewhat and ensure that more do apply for and receive grant funding."

You can find extra details on funding options available to studios by reading Romanos’s previous article on getting funding for your game here.

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