Derry 2.0 - Why you should be applying to the Creative Industries Innovation Fund

The latest round of the Creative Industries Innovation Fund (CIIF) is now open for applications, and if you have a digital idea that you want to get off-the-ground you need to take note.

This round of CIIF is targeted at the digital end of the creative industries, specifically projects in games, film, TV, web and mobile content and e-learning. And successful applicants can receive a grant of up to £10,000.

The aim of CIIF is to stimulate innovation, R&D and creativity and encourage export focused growth within the creative industries.

CIIF will support the development of commercially viable content, products, services and experiences capable of competing on the world stage.

We’re hosting an information workshop on Tuesday, August 16th (more info at to give you a chance to speak directly with the people who will be assessing the applications (well worth it) and in the mean time you can learn more and download the forms at

The fund is competitive but there is several hundred thousand pounds available in total so make sure to get your application in before the August 25th deadline - and if you’d like some help, please get in touch.

What the NI startup scene needs - and doesn’t need

NYC entrepreneur and angel investor Chris Dixon wrote a blog post recently about what the startup scene in New York needs, and doesn’t need. What’s surprising is that many of his observtions could just as easily be made about the technology startup scene in Northern Ireland.

You can read the full post at but here’s a quick summary:

“Here’s what I think NYC needs to become a serious, long-term startup hub: 1) Some extremely successful startups.

We need PayPals – companies that spin out boatloads of talented entrepreneurs and “smart money” angel investors … 2) More web product design talent. … 3) More engineers. … 4) High-speed internet throughout all the “startup areas” … 5) More marquee tech companies opening large tech offices here. …”

On his ‘don’t need’ list are things like government funded events to introduce entrepreneurs to each other, big university projects, lower rents and more investment capital.

These points aren’t quite such a neat fit with where we are in NI. Access to investment capital is still an issue, although the best startups are finding ways around this regardless.

Rents aren’t an issue, although flexibility still is in many cases.

It’s comforting to know that the issues we face in getting our technology industry firing on all cylinders are the same as those in somewhere like NYC but perhaps this is one time where our size can play to our advantage.

Mark Nagurski is Derry’s Digital Champion, based at the city’s Chamber of Commerce. You can contact him by email to or by visiting