Funding Sets Stage for Growth

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The stage is set for growth for a creative education business thanks to a boost via the South West Investment Fund.

Screenology, based at St Vincent’s Works, Bristol, has received a £95k smaller loan from SWIG Finance as part of the South West Investment Fund to support the expansion of its Creative Filmmaking (BA Hons) and Creative Practice MA courses.

The £200m South West Investment Fund (SWIF) covers the entire South West region and provides loans from £25k to £2m and equity investment up to £5m to help a range of small and medium-sized businesses to start up, scale up or stay ahead.

Led by creative entrepreneur Tom Brereton Downs, Screenology was established in 2015 as a “film school for the 21st century”. In partnership with Plymouth Marjon University, Screenology offers its students a learn-by-doing approach. Many of their graduates have gone on to work for high-profile TV shows and channels, large YouTube channels and some setting up their own creative businesses.

Screenology currently employs 22 members of staff, with eight new jobs to be created over the next 18 months.

This customer was referred to SWIG Finance by Jack Seymour of Pinnacle Business Finance.

Of the funding, Tom said “The loan we’ve received through SWIG Finance is life-changing. As a ‘hands-on’ education institute, the pandemic severely disrupted business for us and without this lifeline of funding, growth would have been delayed until at least 2025.”

SWIG’s Senior Business Manager, Nicola Parker, commented: “Bristol is renowned for its creative industries; however creative entrepreneurs sometimes lack the commercial skills needed to succeed. This is why Screenology’s new Creative Practice MA course is so exciting – not only is it honing creative talent, but it’s also helping students develop their business acumen which will help them in the long term.”

Jody Tableporter, Director UK and Regional Funds at the British Business Bank, said: “With support from the South West Investment Fund, Screenology was able to secure funding where not otherwise available. The business can now accelerate growth and deliver new courses, supporting the creative economy in the region and the next generation of filmmakers.”

The purpose of the South West Investment Fund is to drive sustainable economic growth by supporting innovation and creating local opportunity for new and growing businesses across the South West. The South West Investment Fund will increase the supply and diversity of early-stage finance for South West smaller businesses, providing funds to firms that might otherwise not receive investment and help to break down barriers in access to finance.