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Indielab West Yorks opens applications to boost TV, games production

UK production accelerator programme Indielab has opened applications for its first initiatives focusing on TV and games producers based in the English county of West Yorkshire.

Victoria Powell

The two programmes, part of the £1.5m (US$2.1m) Creative Catalyst fund, aim to drive growth in key creative industries in West Yorkshire, which encompasses the cities of Leeds and Bradford.

Delivered with the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Indielab West Yorks is looking for TV indies and games studios keen to achieve scale and develop their businesses.

The TV Accelerator is open to 10 to 15 early and mid-stage West Yorkshire-headquartered content creators working in TV, as well as social content, film and animation.

The programmes, which represent a first for the region, have been designed to facilitate and accelerate the growth of West Yorkshire’s burgeoning creative sector by enabling companies to hone their business vision and explores the growth opportunities that are specific to their businesses.

The programme includes masterclasses, seminars and panel sessions with national and regional industry leaders, including Sinead Rocks, managing director of nations and regions at UK broadcaster Channel 4.

Companies on the TV Accelerator will also get access to sessions co-designed and delivered with leading broadcasters, including the BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5, where there will be a focus on developing and building lasting relationships across the channels as well as winning high-value, high-volume work.

A focused investment-readiness strand will culminate in an investor pitch showcase, open to all participants – an event that has historically delivered a 20% conversion rate for participating indies.

Rocks said: “The breadth and range of topics and talent that will be available to the applicants has not been seen before in a programme focused for this region. This is a very welcome initiative for the West Yorkshire production sector and one which can be a real catalyst for growth. This scheme aims to take that creative foundation and provides all the necessary resources to give these businesses the best chance to thrive.”

Channel 4 is now headquartered in Leeds, while the BBC has announced that two news teams will be relocated to the city. Last year the LEP delivered the Indie TV & Film Development Fund in partnership with Screen Yorkshire, which enabled content development to continue during the pandemic.

Indielab Accelerator was founded in 2015 by senior TV executive Victoria Powell and seeks to promote a sustainable and resilient independent screen sector in the UK.

Powell said: “The creative industries in West Yorkshire are at a pivotal moment as the government and broadcasters continue to deliver on nations and regions investment and the [UK government’s]Levelling Up agenda. But as well as the abundance of opportunity out there in the UK and global markets there are significant challenges for small indies today, and these are the issues that these programmes are designed to address. In short, the launch of Indielab West Yorkshire and investment by Channel 4, the BBC, Sky and others in the region are creating significant opportunities for the local creative community, to the benefit of all.”


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