When Media Cymru launched to huge applause in October, it heralded the arrival of a true ‘world-first’: a £50m investment to make the CCR a global hub for media production and innovation, driving inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the Welsh media sector – and encouraging industry collaboration on groundbreaking RD&I projects that will help grow an already fast-expanding industry by a further £236 million in gross value added (GVA), by 2026.
Producing more innovative firms is at the heart of the Media Cymru mission; and in this final feature introducing some of the core Media Cymru team, Lee Walters, Senior Producer and Funding Manager, tells us about his pride in seeing how ‘innovation’ is already beginning to thrive through new and unique programmes ….
Creating new products, services and experiences, ready for market
“There are many dimensions to the Media Cymru mission, but for me, increasing our capacity for innovation – and creating new products, services and experiences ready for market – is a real engine for transformation.
“The beauty of an SME economy is the potential to unlock that innovation in so many different types of enterprise, across so many different formats – bringing new creative ideas into the commercial world, helping futureproof the companies involved, creating new jobs for the region; and in the process helping take our whole media ecosystem up to the next level.
“That’s why I’m particularly excited to be heading up our Innovation Pipeline. It’s a series of targeted funding rounds and training opportunities that will be open between January 2023 and July 2025 – designed to develop both the companies and individual professionals who operate within the amazingly varied media across Cardiff Capital Region and wider regions of Wales.
“Our aim is to increase the capacity to carry out meaningful research, development and innovation (RD&I) – from early-stage development through to scale up activity – to stimulate and nurture more ideas, greater diversity and sustained growth in all areas of our media industry.
Innovative interventions, inspiring SMEs and freelancers
“Our innovation pipeline interventions are intended to inspire the ingenuity of enterprises of all sizes – offering awards of up to £10,000 for freelancers and SMEs to develop new products and services; up to £50,000 for businesses to develop RD&I projects that can clearly show the potential to create a new product or service – and up to £200,000 for projects with the scale, ambition and international impact to transform our sector.
“Collaborative support and collective expertise are at the heart of our approach – connecting businesses and people with partner organisations who, together, can turn visions into market realities. The whole experience is intended to be agile and positive for everyone concerned, and the catalyst can be as simple as a joint funding call that explores an RD&I challenge or emerging commercial opportunity – quickly identifying what can be done and expertly assessing where the idea can go.
“We’ve just closed the first round of applications for our Innovation for Creatives and Ideas Lab courses which take place in January, delivered by PDR and the Alacrity Foundation. They will give early career freelancers, graduates and SMEs with an interest in creative industries innovation the opportunity to learn about collaboration, user-centred design, ideation and business development. By the end of the course, participants will understand how to turn their ideas into proposals, which they could use to apply to our funding schemes.
“That’s just one example of what the future can bring, on a journey that’s just begun – and just like the rest of the Media Cymru team, I’m incredibly excited about the road ahead, and our mission to make the CCR a global hub for media production and innovation.”