Develop 2010: Abertay University and Skillset handling grants drive

Vaizey unveils £5m investment project

Attending the Develop Conference in Brighton culture minister Ed Vaizey has detailed a £5 million fund designed to aid UK developers.

The fund, arranged in conjunction with Dundee’s Abertay University, has been conceived to bolster new and existing business, and is pitched by its organisers as an initiative that could created hundreds of jobs within the sector.

Initially £2 million will be released as part of the scheme, which many will see as welcome news. The primary sum is to be used to invest in creating businesses and new game prototypes, and give ‘fledgling companies’ an opportunity to attract further investment through IP development.

Highlighting Abertay as “a world-class university”, Mr Vaizey stated: "I am delighted this morning to launch formally the new £2 million fund to support games IP run by Abertay University, but open to applications from any eligible company located in the UK."

The project, co-organised by Skillset, will grant sums of up to £25,000 to those who can demonstrate relevant and fully working prototypes, Abertay’s staff will also assist with commercialisation and project management support.

"This fund is a direct response to what many developers tell us is needed. Working with Skillset, the fund will also ensure talented students are able to gain valuable work experience with the industry.”

He added: "Whilst the focus is on small companies, larger companies can also benefit by joining as a commissioning partner. This will, we hope, help build new relationships and encourage cross-platform growth."

Partly based on the Dare to be Digital model and the new Professional Masters in Computer Games Development program, the scheme will also provide talented students and graduates with work experience placement opportunities.

“Supporting the creation and success of new, small businesses is crucial to the future growth of this industry, and to the broader health of the UK economy," said Paul Durrant, Director of Business Development at Abertay University.

“This multi-million pound investment project will create jobs and businesses, allowing talented games developers and digital artists the opportunity to turn their innovative ideas into complete, working prototypes they can showcase to investors.”

He added: “By giving competitive grants to the best projects, and offering a wide range of business support to both new and existing companies, we are fuelling the future growth of this creative sector.

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