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Creative Fuse is now into its second phase – we started during 2020 and we will be delivering this new phase through to at least December 2022.

May 2016 – March 2019

Our first phase saw Creative Fuse break new ground in many ways. It was the first time the five universities had come together to support the region’s creative economy in a major project spanning not only the CDIT sector but supporting the spillover of creative-led innovation into other sectors.

Here’s a snapshot of what was achieved in this timeframe:

  • Over 300 businesses directly supported. 132 of the businesses supported had only 1 employee.
  • The projects support reached 40 different cities towns and villages across the region.
  • Over 21,000 hours of direct business support was delivered. All businesses received a minimum of 12 hours, with the average (mean) amount of support at 83 hours each.
  • £483,940 of direct cash was granted to small businesses in the region. Of this, £142,800 was granted for placements whilst £341,140 was granted for innovation pilots.
  • Over 2,000 attendees at Creative Fuse Networking events.

Our first phase Project Report provides a full overview of the work and research we delivered.

Feb 2020 – Dec 2022

We are currently in the second phase of the project. Since we submitted the application for funding this second phase, the world has been impacted by the COVID pandemic. Like many projects and organisations, we’ve sought to pivot and to align our activities and broader approach, including providing delivery remotely (we hope to return to in-person events and support when it is safe to do so) and considering how Creative Fuse can best meet the needs of our creative businesses and practitioners.

In broad terms, the below sets out key milestones and what we hope to achieve in this phase:


  • COVID impact survey – assessing sector and business needs to inform project delivery
  • Re-launching our Creative Fuse Advisory Board who help to guide and challenge us, and provide an important link to engaging with policy-makers
  • Starting our CAKE events again (we look forward to doing these with real cake when you can host these in-person)
  • Commencing our innovation and business support activities with our Creative Fuse workshops and internships programme offered to businesses and freelancers


  • Scaling up our innovation and business support programme with new and re-booted activities
  • Partnering with Creative England in the launch of the new North of Tyne Culture and Creative Fund
  • Undertaking new and major sector mapping and analysis collaborating with the Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre
  • Commencing an evaluation of the impact of Creative Fuse North East


  • Continued delivery of our events and support programme, aiming to work with 300+ businesses directly, and engage with 1000s more
  • Engaging with key stakeholders to secure future investment and support for the sector and seek to continue the Creative Fuse collaboration
  • Deliver our Creative Fuse Conference sharing our learning and stories from this second phase
  • Publish our Project Report and (we hope) position ourselves for follow-on and successor activity