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The Low Carbon Innovation Fund: Investing in the Creative Industries

Samantha Burton from the Low Carbon Innovation Fund provides an introduction to work of this organisation with particular focus on a creative project they supported earlier this year.

The Low Carbon Innovation Fund: Investing in the Creative Industries

The Low Carbon Innovation Fund (LCIF) is a venture capital fund for businesses in the East of England which has stimulated over £50m investment into a variety of sectors in the region, including the burgeoning creative industries sector. It supports the region’s low carbon economy through venture capital investment in growing SMEs.

LCIF invests in companies making operational changes, and provides financial support for the production of low carbon goods and technologies, and the provision of expert services. It can invest between £25k-750k in any growing business aiming to reduce its carbon emissions.
 
The Fund is proud to be able to support businesses in the creative industries, such as film studios and games companies in their effort to lower their carbon footprint and to develop ways of changing to become low carbon organisations.

The investments can be in the form of equity investments or loans convertible to equity, depending on the needs of the SME. Investment from LCIF must be matched with at least 50% of private co-investment.

LCIF funded its first creative industries project this summer – a film of a live performance of the popular Benjamin Britten opera Peter Grimes in the unique setting of Aldeburgh beach. The film was made by Suffolk-based production company Grimes on the Beach Film Limited, which received investment from LCIF for their innovative low carbon production of the feature film Peter Grimes on Aldeburgh Beach.

 

 

The producers adopted new and innovative low carbon ways of working during all stages of the filmmaking process. It is the first feature film to use a carbon foot printing tool managed by BAFTA called ‘Albert’, which tracked the production. By taking simple steps such as using re-usable water bottles, streamlining transport and using biofuel generators the production was able to reduce its carbon footprint by 50%.

LCIF’s support of the filming of this much loved opera will allow Peter Grimes on Aldeburgh Beach to be shown theatrically and on television, sold on DVD and by download, bringing the opera and this special performance in a unique setting to a much wider audience for years to come.

Recentworks and MJW Productions first approached LCIF in October 2012 to raise funds for the production of Peter Grimes on Aldeburgh Beach. LCIF was impressed by the quality of the idea and talent alongside the innovative ideas the producers had to lower their carbon footprint through changing typical techniques in the pre-production, production and post-production phases of the film. This production changes standard procedures within the film industry and will become a useful model to replicate across the industry.

Peter Grimes on Aldeburgh beach was shown in over 100 cinemas on 5 September and will be shown on television in the autumn. It will also be available on DVD and for download.

The Fund was launched in 2010 and will run until December 2015. It is based at the Adapt Low Carbon Group at the University of East Anglia and is managed by Turquoise International. To date, the Fund has invested over £7m into companies working in a range of sectors such as lighting and renewable energy, which attracted a further £23.7m of private co investment.  In total, the Fund will invest over £20.5m European Regional Development Fund money alongside £30m private investment by 2015, making it the largest ERDF fund in the East of England.

For more information about the Fund and to submit an application, visit www.lowcarbonfund.co.uk

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