Companies in the creative industries combine various types of expertise and break traditional boundaries between industries. AVEK’s financial support for the creative industries is the only form of support available that enables product development by a newly established company and thereby makes it possible to get further funding. The DigiDemo and CreaDemo grants are gratuitous but not risk-free for entrepreneurs: the grants also require self-financing. Now, due to the rapid decrease in profits from gaming operations, there is no certainty about the grants’ future.
In recent years, AVEK has been able to distribute EUR 1.34 million per year in financial support to the creative industries. Over the years, there have been almost 6,000 applicants in total. In 2020, the annual number of applications increased by 40%, which indicates that the industry has a need for this type of early-phase support.
“When cuts are made to these particular appropriations, it takes away from the potential of the creative industries. It also takes away from the growth of the creative economy, future corporate taxes and our shared well-being – not to mention the experiences we could gain from the unrealised products and new content. The sprouts of the creative industry are at risk of drying up,” emphasises Director of AVEK Ulla Simonen. Also read the blog text written by Simonen on financial support being cut by half on our website.
DigiDemo grants have served as an important springboard for games and animations
AVEK has been distributing financial support to the creative industries since 2003, when the DigiDemo grant was launched to support the product development for new audiovisual or other cultural content suitable for digital terminal devices. Over the years, a total of 1,195 applicants have received a DigiDemo grant, and the total amount of financial support distributed is almost EUR 11 million.
“DigiDemo is practically the only grant with which a newly established game company can make a game demo. A demo plays an enormous role in negotiations regarding investments: you can use it to convince external investors of your idea and capability. For many game entrepreneurs who are just starting out, DigiDemo has served as an important springboard in starting their business,” President of We in Games Finland Taina Myöhänen, who is a member of the DigiDemo expert panel, says regarding the significance of the grant.
One of the companies awarded with the grant is Gigglebug Entertainment, which implements animation series at the international level. “DigiDemo offers an opportunity to develop new, experimental and ambitious cultural content. Support in the early phase is of vital importance to Finnish projects that are aiming for the international market,” says CEO of Gigglebug Entertainment Anttu Harlin.
Arilyn’s development work was launched with the CreaDemo grant for cultural innovations
The CreaDemo grant can be used to develop cultural and service innovations, while the CreMa grant can be used to develop joint operations and business between the creative and other industries. Over the course of ten years, AVEK has awarded these grants to 531 applicants, with the total amount of support awarded amounting to a little over EUR 5 million.
Arilyn, a recipient of the CreaDemo grant, develops augmented reality solutions for professionals in virtual storytelling. “Our first grant came from AVEK. It was significant, as it gave us founders the final push to leave our old jobs and become entrepreneurs. This allowed us to kickstart our own development and provided clarity regarding what kind of things we want to do with AR,” says CEO of Arilyn Emmi Jouslehto.
Koepala Packaging Oy, which designs innovative food packaging according to the principles of sustainable development, received a CreMa grant from AVEK. “The CreMa grant provided vital support for the launch of our concept’s quick piloting and testing process. We saved time and money in our research and development activities because we were able to immediately test the concept’s service business in important negotiations with clients,” says CEO of Koepala Packaging Janne Asikainen.
Due to the cuts to the support for the creative industries, the round of applications for AVEK’s DigiDemo, CreaDemo and CreMa grants that will end on 30 March 2021 will be the only round of applications for this year.
Ulla Simonen, Director of AVEK
09 4315 2384, ulla.simonen(at)avek.kopiosto.fi