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Public funding sources for UK business developing immersive technologies and content
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CategoryNameDescription
Geographical
Focus
Immersive technology/
content areas
Application areasEligibility
Last updated
Information sources
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UK Grant fundingAHRC/EPSRC Next Generation of Immersive ExperiencesThe AHRC is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
Funding research excellence in arts and humanities, the AHRC recently announced an open call to bring together organisations within the creative economy with researchers from both the arts and humanities communities. The focus is on projects that seek to understand, experiment with, and exploit immersive technologies to create new experiences and develop the next generation of digital content and services which can be conceptualised, produced and exploited within the UK creative economy.
UK wideTechnology-enabled, multi-sensory, narrative, interpretative, and performance experiences-Collaborative proposals need to be led by UK research organisationsSep-17web search
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UK Grant fundingBusiness Wales Innovation and R&DBusiness Wales has three grant schemes to support start-ups and SMEs undertaking innovation and R&D in high growth sectors. These focus on creating and commercialising new products and processes, increasing efficiency in manufacturing through technology and process improvement and design for new product development and manufacture. The schemes operate on a rolling basis and include Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, SMART grants for R&D and the CRISP programme aimed at stimulating collaborative R&D.Wales--Businesses based in Wales, or planning to set up in Wales.
Specific conditions will apply for each grant scheme.
Sep-17web search
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UK Grant fundingCreative FuseCreative Fuse North East funds innovation projects, bringing together expertise from across businesses within the Creative, Digital and IT sector and the region’s universities to tackle specific industry challenges, opportunities or barriers to growth. with two funding strands available: Innovation Pilot Grants (awards up to £5,000) and
Innovation Development Awards (grants up to £25,000).
UK regional specificAll CDITOpen to SMEs (including freelancers), larger organisations, and academic researchers in the North EastSep-17KTN - grantfinder
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UK Grant fundingDefence and Security Accelerator Open Call for InnovationThe DASA Open Call for Innovation has a £4.5m budget in 2017/18 to support concepts, products or services which can improve defence and security. This broad call seeks initiatives at any level of maturity, from anywhere in the UK or abroad, from researchers and companies who are new to defence and security and who may be working in science and technology, behavioural science, social science or other areas.UK wide-Defence and securityOpen competitive submissions with monthly call cycles over 2017/18.Sep-17KTN
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UK Grant fundingDigital Engineering and Test Centre - LITEOpen, competitive grant calls are aimed at supporting innovative and game-changing projects which enable engagement between Automotive and gaming, or other new digital sectors, and enhance jobs and industrial investment.UK wide-Automotive propulsion systemsDETC grants of up to £60k, and no more than 40% of total project costs. Projects must be of either 3 or 6 months durationSep-17KTN
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UK Grant fundingDigital Health CatalystPart of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, a £35m budget over four year has been allocated to digital health or digitally-enabled medical technologies for use in clinical or non-clinical everyday settings. Funding will be through open competitive Innovate UK calls, with the first £8m round announced in July 2017.UK wide-Health care and med technologiesDependent on each call, and nature of the projects proposed i.e. Feasibility, Industrial research, Experimental development projectsSep-17web search
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UK Grant fundingEPSRC - Industrial Case AwardsThe EPSRC's Industrial Cooperative Awards in Science & Technology (CASE) provides funding for PhD studentships where businesses take the lead in arranging projects with an academic partner of their choice. PhD students are provided with challenging research training experience, within the context of a mutually beneficial research collaboration between academic and partner organisations for example industry and policy making bodies.UK wideEngineering applicationsSep-17KTN - grantfinder
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UK Grant fundingEuropean Social Funds (ESF)The ESF is a €3.6bn programme and is part of the wider 2014-2020 ESIF programme. It focuses on improving employment opportunities, skills development and social inclusion and is allocated through designated managing authorities in the UK. Periodic calls are released under three 'Priority Axis' including PA2 - Skills for Growth.

The Scottish and Welsh governments and the Northern Ireland Executive are each responsible for delivery of their own regional specific ESF programmes
UK regional specific--Private sector businesses can participate as delivery partners in ESF calls. Funding levels cover can cover 100% of eligible costs if in partnership with CFOs (Skills Funding Agency, Big Lottery Fund and DWP)Sep-17
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UK Grant fundingEuropean Structural Funds (ERDF)The ERDF is a €3.6bn programme and is part of the wider 2014-2020 ESIF programme. ERDF specifically focuses on supporting economic growth and job creation. In England its focus is determined by a national Operational Programme, with Local Enterprise Partnerships setting the strategic and funding priorities that align with the regional strengths and needs. Calls are released on a periodic basis under nine different ‘Priority Axis’ including:
PA 1. Research and Innovation
PA 2. Enhancing access to, and use and quality of, ICT
PA 3. Enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs

The Scottish and Welsh governments and the Northern Ireland Executive are each responsible for delivery of their own regional specific ERDF programmes.
UK regional specific--Private sector businesses can participate as delivery partners in ERDF calls. Funding levels cover 50% of eligible costs to deliver project outcomesSep-17web search
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UK Grant fundingInnovate UKInnovate UK is the UK's innovation agency. It is a executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. Innovate UK supports a number of key programmes (including SBRI, Collaborative R&D and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships) to drive and stimulate innovation within UK businesses. Open funding competitions are released on a periodic basis under four key sector groups: Emerging and Enabling Technologies; Health and Life Sciences; Infrastructure Systems and Manufacturing and Materials.UK wideSpecific grant calls have previously focused on immersive technology areas the use of immersive tech in sectoral applicationsKey sector groups are:
-Emerging & enabling tech
-Health and Life Sciences
-Infrastructure Systems
-Manufacturing & materials
Dependent on each call and nature of the projects developed: Feasibility, Industrial research, Experimental development projectsSep-17KTN
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UK Grant fundingInvestNI Innovation and R&DInvestNI is the regional business development agency for N.Ireland and provides financial support to businesses seeking to create new products, processes and services. Grant funding schemes include Innovation Vouchers, New to R&D grants of up to £50k and Follow on R&D to support the development of leading edge technologies.Northern Ireland--Businesses based in N.Ireland, or planning to set up in N.Ireland, developing projects representing a significant innovation.Sep-17web search
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UK Grant fundingEngineering Education Grant SchemeThe IET (IET) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) have merged their educational grant schemes into one Engineering Education Grant Scheme (EEGS). It supports projects to engage young people aged 5-19 in learning about engineering and to develop the professional skills of those involved in supporting STEM learning and careers awareness. The EEGS also supports projects that improve wider engineering literacy. Awards of up to £5000 (inclusive of any applicable VAT) are available for standard applications to the fund, and up-to-four awards of £15,000 are available each year.UK wideEducationOrganisation capable of developing and delivering UK-based educational activities are eligible to apply, including schools, IET or IMechE members and STEM organisationsSep-17web search
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UK Grant fundingNHS Innovation and Technology Payment 2018/19The NHS's ITP has been established to support proven innovations to be adopted faster and more systematically throughout the organisation. With a focus on medical devices, digital platforms and technologies, the competitive open calls prioritise low cost innovations which can deliver significant patient outcomes and savings to the NHS.UK wide-Health care and med technologiesApplicants can be from healthcare, academia, commercial or voluntary sectors.Sep-17web search
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UK Grant fundingNational Institute for Health Research - Invention for Innovationi4i Connect is aimed at small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in need of a funding boost to reach the next stage in the development pathway. Offering between £50,000-£150,000 over a 6-12 month period, its primary aim is to support projects at any stage of the translational research and development pathway to further de-risk them for follow on investment. This will enable accelerated development of promising medical technologies, in line with recommendations from the Government’s Accelerated Access Review.EnglandMed TechSep-17KTN - grantfinder
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UK Grant fundingRegional Growth FundRGF programmes are run by national or local organisations which offer grants and/or loans to eligible businesses to support business growth and job creation. Competitive call fund projects providing up to £1m to businesses across a broad range of industrial sectors and technologies. Calls are either on a nationwide basis (such at the Creative England CI Business Growth Programme) or focused along the basis of nine English regional domains.England-Ai Solve - East of England RG schemeTo be eligible businesses must be based in England,
create or protect jobs, invest private capital and be state aid compliant.
Sep-17web search
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UK Grant fundingRoyal Academy of Engineering - Public Engagement AwardsIngenious is an awards scheme for projects that engage the public with engineers and engineering. Ingenious has funded over 189 projects to date, providing opportunities for over 5,000 engineers to take part in public engagement activities, to gain skills in communication and to bring engineering to the very centre of society. Funding is available from £3,000 to £30,000 with priorities on projects that reach diverse and underrepresented audiences including communities in the top 25% most deprived neighbourhoods across the United Kingdom.UK wideEngineering applicationsAnnual applicationsSep-17KTN - grantfinder
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UK Grant fundingSMART: ScotlandScottish Enterprise is Scotland's main economic development agency and a non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government. The SMART scheme provides grants for R&D to support businesses developing new products, processes and services which improve company competitiveness and benefit the Scottish economy. Funded on a rolling basis, projects typically last 6 to 36 months, and grants can cover up to 50% of the project costs.Scotland--Businesses based in Scotland, or planning to set up in Scotland, developing projects representing a significant innovation.Sep-17web search
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UK Grant fundingUK Industrial Strategy Challenge FundsThe ISCF was created in 2016 to provide funding and support to UK businesses and researchers to develop solutions in core industrial challenges. Funding is focused on areas where the UK has a world-leading research base and businesses ready to innovate, and where there is a large or fast-growing and sustainable global market.
Part of the UK government's £4.6bn additional funding for R&D over the next 4 years, six challenges have been announced to date with funding made available through Innovate UK competitive calls. Future challenges that are likely to include digital services and entertainment.
UK wide-Challenges announced to date include:
Robotics and AI, Driverless vehicles and Satellites & space technology.
Call specific eligibility rules apply, with collaborative partnership submissions and match funding required in most cases.Sep-17web search
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UK Grant fundingWellcome Public Engagement FundWellcome is an independent charitable foundation, focused on improving global health. The Public Engagement Fund is a rolling grant programme which supports anyone with innovative ideas for engaging the public in conversations about health-related science and research. The focus is on R&D, project delivery, developing practice and building networks, with grants ranging from £5000 to £3m.UK wideHealthcareIndividuals or companies working within the arts,
entertainment. media
museums and heritage
leisure, sport and tourism
education and informal learning, the community, charity and public sectors.
Sep-17web search
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UK Investment supportThe British Business BankThe British Business Bank is a UK government-owned business development bank dedicated to making finance markets work better for smaller businesses. It works with some 80 partner organisations to create access to finance programmes which make direct investments or provide loans under three key areas: Start-Up, Scale-Up and Stay AheadUK wide--Specific rules apply for each funding instrumentSep-17
KTN - ImmerseUK
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UK Investment supportBFI Film FundThe BFI uses National Lottery funds to develop and support original UK filmmakers and films. A range of different funding schemes are available to UK film makers including ones focused on production and development, completion, distribution and co-production, audience diversity and exhibitions and international film festival promotion.UK wide-Film productionProjects have to be submitted through formal Lottery applications and eligibility depends on the type of funding sought.Sep-17
KTN - ImmerseUK
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UK Investment supportBusiness Wales -Finance WalesBusiness Wales is the regional business development agency for Wales. Its regional advisory teams provide independent support and advice to people starting, running and growing a business in Wales. Through Finance Wales, commercial loan and equity finance schemes are available by application including micro loans, technology venture investment, business loans, equity investments, mezzanine investments.Wales--Businesses based in Wales, or planning to set up in Wales.
Specific conditions will apply for each funding instrument
Sep-17web search
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UK Investment supportCreative EnglandCreative England invests in digital creative companies to support business growth. A range of funding instruments for high growth start-ups and SMEs include: interest-free business loans of up to £200,000 for established creative SMEs; themed accelerator programmes; the Creative England Production Fund investments in regional films, and a £2m programme for games developers.England--Creative digital businesses (including software / app / web developers, games, tech, content , advertising) registered in England and outside Greater LondonSep-17
KTN - ImmerseUK
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UK Investment supportInvestNI Access to FinanceInvestNI is the regional business development agency for N.Ireland. Under the umbrella of the InvestNI Access to Finance programme, a range of six loan finance and equity funds are available for start-ups , SMEs and business based in N.Ireland and with high growth potential.Northern Ireland--Businesses based in N.Ireland, or planning to set up in N.Ireland.Sep-17web search
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UK Investment supportLocal Enterprise PartnershipsThe LEP Network provides a gateway to the 39 Local Enterprise Part ships across England which each provide a range on investment vehicles (loan finance, guarantees and equity funds in partnership with private sector providers and European agencies) to support business start-up and growth and job creation. The scope and scale of investment support varies by region, and is determined by smart specialisation strategies which have identified high growth sectors and technologies.UK regional specific--Specific conditions apply to each different funding instrumentSep-17web search
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UK Investment supportHMRC - The Patent BoxThe Patent Box enables companies to apply a lower rate of Corporation Tax to profits earned after 1 April 2013 from its patented inventions. The relief will be phased in from 1 April 2013 and the lower rate of Corporation Tax to be applied will be 10%. The company must own or exclusively license-in the patents and must have undertaken qualifying development on them.UK wideSector agnosticBusinesses can benefit from the Patent Box if they are liable to Corporation Tax and make profits from exploiting patented inventions.Sep-17Web search
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UK Investment supportScottish Enterprise Investment SupportScottish Enterprise is Scotland's main economic development agency and a non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government.
Scottish Enterprise provides a portfolio of loan, equity and guarantee instruments - available to businesses of all sizes based in Scotland - with the aim of supporting research and development, co-investment and technological innovations.
Scotland--Specific conditions apply for each funding instrumentSep-17web search
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UK Investment supportTfL Innovation PortalTransport for London's Innovation portal sets out the key business, operational and delivery challenges faced by the organisation and provides a mechanism for organisations, big and small, to submit ideas which can meet the challenges. Ideas can be submitted on a rolling basis and the projects in progress highlights a range of VR and 3D modelling initiatives underway.UK regional specificVR/ARTransport and Transport safetyProposed ideas must meet at least one of TfL key challenges and be new and different to current approaches
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UK Investment supportUK Creative Industry Tax ReliefsCreative industry tax reliefs are a group of seven Corporation Tax reliefs that allow qualifying CI companies to claim a larger deduction, or in some circumstances claim a payable tax credit when calculating their taxable profits. These reliefs work by increasing the amount of allowable expenditure. Where your company makes a loss, it may be able to surrender the loss and convert some or all of it into a payable tax credit.UK wideFilm ; Animation;
High-end Television ;
Video Games;
Children’s Television;
Theatre; Orchestra
-To qualify productions must pass a 'cultural test' or qualify through certifying that the production is a British.Sep-17
KTN - ImmerseUK
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UK Investment supportUK Games FundThe UK Games Fund has been created to help stimulate growth in the industry by supporting companies to become more diverse and innovative, create new IP and grow in strength and size. Competitive annual calls fund up to £25k per development and should not constitute more than 50% of eligible costsUK wide-GamingRegistered active games development companies with less than 50 employeesSep-17
KTN - ImmerseUK
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UK Investment supportUK R&D capital allowancesThe UK R&D capital allowance scheme allows companies that carry out qualifying R&D related to their trade to claim corporation tax deductions for qualifying expenditure. The level of relief available depends upon which scheme the company uses. Under the SME Tax Relief scheme, a tax relief of 230% on qualifying expenditure is allowed.UK wide--A number of specific stipulations are required to qualify and claim CT deductions - detailed hereSep-17web search
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European Grant fundingCreative Europe - MEDIACreative Europe is the European Commission's framework programme for support to the culture and audio-visual sectors. The CE MEDIA sub-programmes provides a portfolio of sector specific initiatives including those targeting online distribution, video games development, film production and distribution and film festivals. Rolling open competitive grant calls are released through the EC's Education, Audio-visual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).Pan-European-All audio-visual sub-sectorsSpecific conditions on partnership consortia and funding rules apply for each call.Sep-17web search
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European Grant fundingDG Communications Networks, Content and Technology - Digital Economy and SocietyA range of open grant calls and tenders covering keys elements and priorities of the European Digital Single Market strategyPan-EuropeanSpecific conditions on partnership consortia and funding rules apply for different calls.Sep-17KTN - grantfinder
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European Grant fundingEC - Pilot projects and Preparatory ActionsThe EC's Pilot projects (PP) and Preparatory Actions (PA) scheme funds projects focused on new initiatives that influence R&D policies and legislation and inform longer term funding programmes. Competitive open calls are published on a bi-annual basis. In previous calls, communications networks, content and technology pilots have been a key areas of focus.Pan-European-ICT, Defence amongst othersSpecific conditions apply for each rolling call.Sep-17web search
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European Grant fundingEIT Digital ChallengeEIT Digital is one the knowledge and innovation communities (KICs) funded by the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT). The annual Digital Challenge initiative supports scale-ups with scale up with digital technology solutions which can be applied to EIT Digital's key focus areas of industry, cities, wellbeing, infrastructure or finance. The adjudges best team in each category receive 12 months placement and support in the EIT Digital Accelerator (worth €50,000) and a cash grant of €50,000.Pan-EuropeanIndustry, Cities, Wellbeing, Infrastructure, FinanceEuropean scale-up companies which are less than 10 years old and already have significant revenues.Sep-17web search
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European Grant fundingEurekaThe EC's EUREKA programme aims at raising the productivity and competitiveness of businesses through technology. It supports SMEs, companies and technology related organizations through various clusters, networks and individual projects. EUREKA individual projects are market-oriented R&I projects that are given a EUREKA label upon approval. Competitive grant calls are released on a periodic basis.Pan-EuropeanAll technology application areas supportedSpecific conditions apply for tie of project call.Sep-17web search
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European Grant fundingEuropean Space Agency - Space engineering and technologyThe ESA Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality oversee a set of R&D programmes aimed at sourcing early stage innovations and de-risking the innovation assimilation for the European space industry. Competitive calls operate on a rolling basis for the mandatory 'Basic Technology Research Programme' and longer term projects are funded under the optional 'General Support Technology Programme'.Pan-European-Disruptive innovations for space applicationsProjects at TRL 3- 5 for organisations within ESA member states, with up to 100% of project costs funded by the grant.Sep-17KTN
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European Grant fundingHorizon 2020H2020 is the EU’s primary R&I funding programme, with €70.2 billion funding over 2014 to 2020. With the primary aim of linking research to innovation, it is a core part of Europe 2020 and the Innovation Union. Grant calls are released in two year tranches, with the next 2018-2020 round due to be announced in Autumn 2017. Together with specific 'Societal Challenge' calls, thematic grant funding opportunities of specific relevance to immersive technologies and content are published under:
- Research Excellence - Future and emerging technologies
- Research Excellence - Maria Skladovska-Curie Actions
- Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (LEIT)
- Innovation in SMEs
Pan-European--Specific conditions on partnership consortia and funding rules apply for different calls.Sep-17web search
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European Grant fundingINTERREG EuropeThe EC's Interreg Programme provides grant funding to support European regional development and promote of economic, social and cultural development of the EU as a whole. Annual competitive calls fund proposals under four key areas including Research and Innovation and SME competitiveness.Pan-European--Private sector business can participate but not lead on proposals under most calls. Partnership consortia need to traverse at least three EU member states.Sep-17web search
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European Investment support
COSMEThe EU's Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) programme has a €2.3bn budget over 2014 to 2020 to support SMEs in four areas including: Improving access to finance for SMEs in the form of equity and debt and Promoting entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial culture.
Competitive calls are published on a bi-annual basis and focus on a range of sector specific and cross sector topics.
Pan-European--Specific conditions on partnership consortia and funding rules apply for different calls.Sep-17web search
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European Investment support
Creative Europe - Cross Sector StrandCreative Europe is the European Commission's framework programme for supporting the culture and audio-visual sectors. The CE Cross-Sector Strand supports three primary functions and includes the establishment of a Guarantee Facility targeting the cultural and creative sectors. Launched in 2016, the Guarantee Facility is available through financial intermediaries in each EU member state, and is designed to facilitate access to finance for micro and SMEs.Pan-European-Architecture, archives and libraries, artistic crafts, audio-visual, cultural heritage, design, festivals, music, performing arts, publishing, radio and visual artsFinancial intermediaries in the UK have yet to be assigned and eligibility for businesses seeking to apply will subsequently be clarified.Sep-17web search
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