Opportunities for creative entreprenurs: financing sources, programs, and private investors

In recent years, more and more support initiatives – both financial and educational – have been launched in order to support the creative entrepreneurial ecosystem. Regardless of their type, they have a great potential of strengthening early-stage initiatives and to contribute to thriving creative scaleups.

In order to identify the initiatives that are suited for your business, it’s very important to do periodical research on them, their opening dates and selection criteria. In this article you will find some of the most relevant for European entrepreneurs, along with helpful tips on their purpose and the areas they target. 

Financing sources 

1. CREATIVE EUROPE 2021 – 2027, a framework program of the European Union for the period 2014-2020. An umbrella for other 2 programs: 

Culture Sub-Program – for non-audiovisual arts and culture sector, covering all the arts, culture, heritage & the creative industries.  

  • Eligibility: small projects (with 3+ partners from different countries) and large projects (6+ partners), lasting up to 4 years.  
  • You will need to prepare a detailed budget (income, expenditures)  
  • It offers grants from 200.00 Euro to maximum 2.000.000 Euro.  

Media Sub-Program – covering the audiovisual sector.  

  • It offers access to grants for audience development (via cinemas, film festivals, etc), distribution, producer support, training (including access to markets) and some support for (joint) production costs.   
  • There are 14 schemes and various deadlines during the year. 

It’s interesting to know that the Europe Creative Offices play a role of information, advice, and technical assistance (preparation of files), dissemination of documentation and networking for all professionals that want to apply.  

2. Cultural and Creative Sector Guarantee Facility (CCS GF) 

  • The program offers loans and other financial products to creative enterprises, those involved in projects or activities based on cultural values and/or artistic and other creative expressions, either market or non-market-oriented, including the development, the creation, the production, the dissemination and the preservation of goods and services which embody cultural, artistic, or other creative expressions, as well as related functions such as education or management.  
  • Through the CCS GF the Commission has committed to partially covering financial intermediaries' potential losses on a portfolio level on loans provided for cultural and creative sector projects. By doing this, it hopes to encourage the engagement of financiers with the sector. 
  • In addition, financial intermediaries will be provided training to better understand the needs of cultural and creative sector projects, with a view to increasing their engagement with the sector.  
  • Who is eligible to apply for funding: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or small public enterprises in the cultural and creative sectors, established and operating in any of the participating countries (currently EU Member States, Iceland, and Norway).   

3. The Henry Moore Foundation  

  • Supports the development of sculpture through the Grants program (historical, modern, and contemporary registers, seeking to fund research that expands the appreciation of sculpture). The artist must be supported by a host institution for residencies that can last from two to six months. The host institution should apply for the grant. 
  • Eligibility: supported projects need to be related to international sculpture in Britain as well as to British sculpture abroad.      

4. Accion Cultural Espanola (AC/E) – The Mobility Programme  

  • It's aimed at providing incentives to foreign cultural organizations and institutions – both public and private – to encourage them to feature Spanish artists and culture professionals and creators in overseas programmes to enhance the international visibility as well as mobility. 
  • Eligibility: international artists or organizations  

5. CirCoAX (CircullarInnoBooster Fashion and Textile (F&T) is a project funded by the Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (COSME) of the European Union.  

  • The program addresses the fashion and textiles industry and aims to transform companies in this sector into sustainable, circular and regenerative ones, during a period of 8 months.  
  • It has a budget of 1.128.000 Euro, co-financed by the European Commission in a 75%.  

6. Creative Scotland - Open Project Funding supports the arts, screen, and creative industries, with projects that help them explore, realise and develop their creative potential, widen access to their work, and enrich Scotland’s reputation as a distinctive creative nation connected to the world.    

7. European incubation network(s) for creativity-driven innovation (part of COSME, the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).  

  • The call aims to support the creation of trans-national network(s) of business incubators and accelerators with a focus on providing business support to SMEs and start-ups in the fashion and the tourism sectors integrating creativity, art and design skills from CCIs (Cultural and Creative Industries) with cutting-edge technology, science and other relevant expertise. 

8. CREACT4MED (CReative Entrepreneurs ACTing FOR the future MEDiterranean) is a project funded by the European Union (EU) through the EuropeAid Programme, that aims to strengthen businesses and entrepreneurship in the cultural and creative industries, with a particular focus on young people and women.  

  • Available budget: 2.220.675 Euro (with 90% of the budged funded by the EU Comission). 



  • A program that accelerates creative entrepreneurs working to build and scale their companies, growing the creative economy.  
  • 10 rigorous weeks, world-class mentors, investors, and our expert team. 


A Creative Startups pre-accelerator which aims to take your startup from launch to revenue with a growth framework, critical skills, and tools essential to building your creative company. 

LABS is ideal for entrepreneurs who want to discover if their startup is market-ready and determine the next steps to get there quickly and successfully. LABS will help you identify your ideal customer, learn to pitch your business, and connect you to additional resources that will aid in your business growth. 

3. Creative Incubator is a digital programme, designed in collaboration with the Art Directors Club of Europe. The programme offers pre-recorded content, as well as digital live sessions, group, and project work as well as Q&As with mentors and coaches.  

For creatives who want to use their talent for more meaningful purposes, changemakers who take creative actions to solve relevant social problems.  

4. ENCC Incubator  is an incubator developed by the European Network of Cultural Centres (ENCC).  

It aims to support mid-to-senior levels-professionals from cultural centres involved or seeking involvement in European Projects such as Creative Europe or Erasmus +.  

The annual programme includes 4 phases:  

  • a call for applications and selection process 
  • a 3-day intensive training/consultancy retreat for the selected project leaders 
  • mentoring during the project development phase 
  • an evaluation process.  

5. Citizen Artist Incubator is a project designed and implemented with the view to facilitate unprecedented initiatives on the edge of artistic innovation and human need. 

The center of activities were the 2 incubation camps gathering from around Europe and beyond 30 in total emerging artists to attend them for 4-week period and learn more and create new ideas focusing on citizens and society at large. 

6. B.creative – Is both a a global network for cultural and creative entrepreneurs established to facilitate exchanges and collaborations between its members, to foster their development and growth and to spark societal changes and a global event for creative entrepreneurship – is interdisciplinary, aiming to gather participants from a wide spectrum of creative professions, cultural policy makers, scientists, engineers, investors and academic in order to spark ideas that permeate societal development. 

7. ArtUp Idea Incubator - provides experience, instruction, support, and mentorship to creative entrepreneurs whose business ideas can produce transformative economic effects in their neighborhoods.  

Creative entrepreneurs (named ArtUp Fellows) will learn to develop their ideas into viable, sustainable businesses through 4 practical methods: capital, curriculum, coaching, catalyctic.  

Investors & Venture Capital Funding

1. DAVINCI VENTURES – for over a decade they’ve been identifying, investing in, and accelerating game changing creative companies. They provide guidance and investment to diverse founders scaling creative companies. 

2. EuroQuity: is an online matchmaking platform for investors, companies, and their partners. The European Investor Platform list ≈360 cases of startups and investments in creative industries, including multi-stages international investors.  

3. Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments: is a venture capital (VC) firm specialized in growing the revenues that media companies generate with subscription services.  

4. IPR.VC is a venture capital investor focused on media and entertainment content. IPR funds are backed by leading Nordic institutional investors.  

5. FELIX CAPITAL is a venture capital firm for creatives, operating at the intersection of technology and creativity.  

6. Access Ventures  - supports businesses in the creative economy sector. They propose an economic environment that has been designed intentionally to support creators, makers and dreamers that will truly build the future of every community. They work intentionally to create programs that support creators and their creative development as they mature in their craft. 

7. CIM Fund – Venture Fund for creative industries. As a venture capitalist CIM makes equity investments for a limited time span into content companies: entertainment, education and and intellectual property rights (IPR) industries. CIM helps companies develop their operations and gain international markets. 

8. Designer Fund invests in leaders and empower them to improve the world with design. Designer Fund specializes in helping design products and scale design teams through their professional development programs Bridge and Designer Founder Guild.  


Newsletter-ul Startarium. Citește sinteza lunară direct pe e-mail