2022-23 Annual Report


We believe in the power of creativity and the creative industries to change lives, placing creativity at the heart of the UK’s culture, economy and education system. Our goal is simple: to cultivate a world where creativity is championed, valued, and fundamentally nurtured.


A message from our CEO

Caroline Norbury, OBE


For the past two decades, the UK's Creative Industries have grown faster than the wider economy. The 2022/23 financial year marked the second year of our new Creative UK brand, following its launch in 2021 after the coming together of our two former businesses, Creative England and the Creative Industries Federation. In the previous twelve months, the team at Creative UK have continued to tirelessly advocate for our sector, despite the vast number of challenges, including a global pandemic and a cost-of-living crisis that continues to have us all feeling the pinch. In spite of these constraints, we’ve managed to provide investment, support and advice to champion our colleagues across the industry and we’ve continued to fly the flag for issues that matter most to our members and the wider creative community.  I am immensely proud to have hosted our inaugural Creative Coalition Festival, bringing together more than 2,500 of the greatest leaders, thinkers and doers across the creative spectrum both digitally and in person for discussions, workshops, networking, performances and more. It was a true celebration of the best the Creative Industries has to offer, and we’ll be back next year with a bigger and better offering.  
We know our industry faces significant barriers when it comes to accessing investment. We’ve been listening to your plight and in the next financial year we’re planning, with the help of our partners at Tridios bank, to recapitalise our Creative Growth Finance Fund from a £20m venture to a £35m debt and equity investment fund for the Creative Industries. This new fund will provide the crucial investment needed to unleash the power of the creative sector to drive UK growth and innovation. This year also saw us continue to work closely with our colleagues in Whitehall. We made formal recommendations to the Government, including putting forward our Spring Budget Priorities and sent an Open Letter on behalf of our trade body and union members to newly appointed Prime Minister Liz Truss. I also had the great privilege of giving evidence to the House of Lords Communications Committee ahead of their report on the future of the UK's Creative Industries. Work also began on our Redesigning Freelancing initiative alongside key members, partners and nine Combined Authorities across the country. The campaign aims to deliver a policy framework to empower freelancers and organisations working across the creative economy to tackle inequalities and create a more sustainable future for our self-employed workforce.  

In the wake of the rising workplace harassment allegations facing a number of organisations, my team joined forces with Times UP UK and the then Secretary of State Nadine Dorries. We saw our collective role as being advocates across the industry and to ask the tough questions. It has forced all of us as business leaders to unpack whether we are truly doing enough to protect our colleagues.  

We began with a structural approach; establishing a working group, to bring together key leaders from across the creative ecosystem to address systemic issues. Our priority was to establish clear codes of conduct and create opportunities for training and development. It was from there that the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CIISA) was born - a body that will provide a single point of advice, support, early dispute resolution and investigation. It is our hope that CIISA will play a significant role in leading desperately needed cultural change across the industry.  

It’s been a busy but exciting year. We know there’s still work to be done, so rest assured we won’t be resting on our laurels. In 2024 and beyond, we’ll be working closely with our members, partners and the UK Government to deliver on the promises that have been made and to harness the power of the Creative Industries to build a fairer, more prosperous world, so we can realise our vision of a world where creativity is recognised and valued for the enormous contribution it makes. Until then… 

Stay safe,  

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Our year in numbers: 

Over 60,000 creative individuals in our network  




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Over 2,600

creatives connected through Creative Coalition Festival

Over 630

Creative businesses



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And over 5.9m 

with our press reach   




We Championed 

With the Creative Industries continuing to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, the impact of the cost of living crisis and post-Brexit complications meant the sector faced both new and ongoing challenges throughout 2022/23. 

Working with our members and industry partners, we responded to these challenges by communicating the sector’s priorities to the UK Government, as well as highlighting to them opportunities for the Creative Industries to support UK growth. 

Formal representations to the UK Government included our Spring Budget Priority Recommendations, an Open Letter on behalf of our trade body and union members to newly appointed Prime Minster, and publication of our updated Brexit policy paper. In addition, we regularly briefed relevant UK Government departments and Ministers, reacting to two changes of Prime Minster and various Cabinet reshuffles, and increased our engagement with the major political parties, feeding into their manifesto development process to ensure UK creativity is a key issue at the next general election.

Our Chief Executive Caroline Norbury OBE was also invited to give oral evidence to the House of Lords Communications Committee ahead of their report on the future of the UK’s Creative Industries.

This paper outlines other essential recommendations to enable creativity to grow and prosper everywhere:

1. Supercharge inclusive growth by optimising Creative Industries tax reliefs and showcasing creative exports.

2. Unleash creative innovation across all industries by reforming R&D tax relief to reflect the internationally recognised Frascati definition, aligning the UK with other high-growth economies.

3. Stimulate consumer spending by cutting VAT from cultural experiences and creative products, including event tickets and audiobooks.

4. Ease the pressure of rising costs by applying Business Rate Relief to all cultural sites, venues and hubs and providing financial support to improve energy efficiency.

5. Invest in our future workforce at all stages by delivering the £270 million Arts Premium promised in the Conservative Party Manifesto and enabling FE and HE to upskill the next generation.

6. Incentivise a new era of creative entrepreneurship by establishing a new compact with freelancers, retaining the UK’s Intellectual Property framework and boosting competition.




The recommendations set out by the House of Lords Communications Committee would provide a much-needed step towards cultivating an environment where creative skills are celebrated, the value of original IP is recognised, and R&D receives the investment required to realise new, unexpected and transformational possibilities.” 

- Caroline Norbury, OBE 
Chief Executive of Creative UK

Priorities during 2022/23:

Redesigning Freelancing

The Redesigning Freelance initiative with members and industry partners, as well as nine Combined Authorities in England, was launched via a survey of freelancers and those who work with them. Moving ahead, it aims to deliver a policy framework to empower freelancers and organisations working across the creative economy to tackle inequalities and create a more sustainable future for our self-employed workforce.


Championing Creative Skills

To mitigate against a worsening skills shortage for the creative sector, against a backdrop of creative education being devalued, Championing Creative Skills has been central to Creative UK’s advocacy and campaigning. We convened senior political advisors and officials at the UK Government Department for Education, together with our members, to share and discuss the sector’s concerns, and to Higher Education reforms in England, by stressing the importance of protecting our creative talent pipeline at all levels.


Addressing Bullying and Harassment in the Creative Sector

Since June 2021, Creative UK has continued to work with DCMS to convene a series of industry roundtables seeking to address Bullying, Harassment and discrimination in the Creative Industries. Chaired by our CEO Caroline Norbury, the roundtable brings together representatives from film and television, music, advertising, games, publishing, theatre, and fashion along with key unions, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), and people with lived experience. In 2022/23 in partnership with roundtable attendees, we launched the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CIISA) with the aim to uphold and improve standards of behaviour across the Cultural and Creative Industries in efforts to prevent and tackle all forms of bullying and harassment.

Connect & Convene


As the independent network for the UK’s Creative Industries, connecting our members with the wider sector, other industries and government, was central to Creative UK’s 2022/23 activity. The key annual convening moment came with the return of the Creative Coalition Festival, which brought together many of the UK’s finest creators, makers, leaders and innovators. The 2023 festival began with an opening gala at London’s Southbank Centre, hosted in partnership with TikTok and featuring a speech by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, The Rt Hon Lucy Frazer KC MP. The following three-day virtual festival featured speakers including Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Lucy Powell MP, cartoonist Steve Bell and Sir Ian Livingstone CBE.


Creatives registered for our festival in 2023


Countries attended
our festival in 2023


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We invested 

During 2022/23 Creative UK invested £9,093,500 into 30 creative businesses within the VFX, Advertising & Marketing, Publishing, Film & TV, Createch, Games, Design and Education sectors, located across England, Wales, and Ireland. 

This represented a 257% increase on Creative UK’s investment into the sector in the previous financial year, and was made possible through our partnerships with Triodos Bank and the North of Tyne Combined Authority, among others.  

Clients within Creative UK’s investment portfolio have reported an 87% improvement in average monthly revenues, 168 jobs created, £17.4 million third party funding raised and 32% average headcount growth. 

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Jobs created 

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Third party funding raised


Case studies




Moonraker are a VFX studio set up and run by a team of passionate and creative VFX specialists with boundless enthusiasm and years of experience led by Creative Director Simon Clarke and Managing Director Jon Grafton.

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Huey Games

Manchester-based developer, Huey Games is a breakout success whose growth has been supported by investment from Creative Growth Finance (CGF).


Venture Stream

Venture Stream was established in 2014 by ecommerce entrepreneur and Harvard graduate Vic Morgan and since then, a strong team of digital professionals has been built.


Bristol-based VFX company, Moonraker received two rounds of investment from our Creative Growth Finance (CGF) fund. The company successfully applied for investment worth £500,000 in 2020 and received a second loan worth £200,000 in 2022. While the latest round of Creative Growth Finance investment was for the development of new IP, Moonraker received further business support from Creative UK to enable it to grow more broadly.

After the £500,000 CGF loan was received, Moonraker was able to access a grant through the New Ideas Fund and to join the Evolve screen business support programme run by Creative UK’s Creative Enterprise scheme. Evolve is a nine-month programme that provides specific and tailored support to screen businesses at the investment stage and is complementary to the investment programme of Creative Growth Finance.

With investment from CGF plus the business mentoring received through Evolve, Moonraker has established itself as a pioneer in the integration of live action footage with visual effects and has recently collaborated with the BBC on Frozen Planet II.


“The funding and support we’ve received from Creative UK have seen us go from strength to strength. It’s allowed us to expand from a small team of two to over twenty employees. We’ve been able to develop our IP plans at speed, and prototype products, and our turnover has risen by over 400%.”

-Simon Clarke, Creative Director at Moonraker VFX

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Huey Games

When we invested £1 million into Dimension Studio in 2022, we were investing in a company that we had already supported through several growth stages. Our

Prior to applying for the CGF loan Huey Games had been through two business support programmes run by Creative Enterprise – the sister organisation of Creative UK. In the video Rob explains how joining Evolve, the Creative Enterprise investment-readiness programme, bolstered his business knowledge and helped him to understand what kind of investment would be best suited to the Huey Games growth strategy. 

Creative Growth Finance is still open to new applicants and offers loans of up to £1 million to post-revenue businesses registered in the UK. If you have a scaling creative sector company that needs finance, visit the CGF page and try our online eligibility checker.


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“It's important to work with an investor who you feel is aligned with your values and ethics and we certainly felt that with Creative Growth Finance. The investment was made at a critical time in Huey Games' journey .”

-Rob Hewson, CEO of Huey Games

Venture Stream

Award-winning digital marketing agency, VentureStream was founded in 2014, and has seen continual growth in its turnover, client base and workforce. Based in Newcastle, it is a great example of a company that is benefiting its region, with great cross-company links and local recruitment. We supported VentureStream by creating a tailored investment package that incorporated money from both the Creative Growth Finance fund and the North of Tyne Culture and Creative Investment Programme.


“It’s great to have Creative UK on board as a strategic investor, supporting Venture Stream’s award-winning e-commerce and digital marketing business. With their support, we’re now able to expand our commitment to people-first strategies, including our 4-day work week initiative and creating work for e-commerce and digital marketing freelancers globally through our new Flow marketplace platform. Our team has always been at the heart of our business, and we look forward to continuing our journey with the financial support of Creative UK, one of the leading backers of talent and innovation in the creative and digital economy.”

- Vic Morgan, Founder and CEO of VentureStream



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We supported 

Creative UK’s support provision for the creative sector strengthened and grew in 2022/23, both on a national and regional scale. Existing regional business growth programmes in Manchester, Cornwall, Plymouth and Wakefield supported more businesses than ever, while our partnership with Innovate UK and KTN meant new support programmes were launched in the South East, South West and North East, through DCMS’ Create Growth Programmes. In 2022/23 we were able to support over 630 businesses. Our continuing Creative Enterprise programme delivered support and skills development for 142 screen and moving image businesses, supported by the BFI with funding from the National Lottery.
In addition, Filming in England launched a first-of-its-kind toolkit with OlsbergSPI that equips local authorities with tools to measure and demonstrate the impact of film and television production in their areas, as well as a new Studio and Build Space Directory resource and the first Regional Filming Hubs, bringing together important stakeholders with a shared vision to strengthen England’s film-friendly production environment. 

 Support for UK filmmakers was also delivered through our partnership with Netflix UK on Breakout, which selected six filmmaking teams for paid script development and a lab programme to further develop the skills required for making a genre film. 

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125 Feature Films

received production support from our Filming in England team. 




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More case studies




Support for UK filmmakers was also delivered through our partnership with Netflix UK on Breakout, which selected six filmmaking teams for paid script development and a lab programme to further develop the skills required for making a genre film.


Creative Enterprise

Female Founders Scale Up is a dedicated and prestigious programme for ambitious female founders of screen-based companies.

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Simon Relph Bursary

In addition, Creative UK delivered a second series of shortFLIX, with the five short films broadcast on Sky Arts, and awarded the third Simon Relph Memorial Bursary of £15,000 for an emerging producer outside of London to Manchester-based Loran Dunn

Download the financial report

Something to look back on

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