Friday 1st July

The CAF Guide


The scene is England, at the turn of the century…

The 21st century, that is.

New Labour has swept away the old government and Cool Britannia sees rock stars and film makers mingling with senior politicians at No 10.  New markets and possibilities are emerging as technology makes the tools of creativity more accessible and more affordable.  Cameras literally become pocket sized; editing software is no longer the domain of huge film companies.  Bedroom DJs can become overnight recording moguls.  Design and information are keys to business growth and success…

The “creative industries” have been born.  Arguably, the midwife of the creative industries was Lord Smith of Finsbury (then Chris Smith).  In our featured film in the Prologue, he sets the scene for our guide:

“When I was Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport about 15 years ago we really began to put some importance in the creative industries that had not been there before.

“When we came into Government in 1997 one of the things that was very clear was that no one, anywhere, in government or elsewhere, knew what the extent of the contribution of the creative industries made to the economy.”

As more research was carried out into the creative industries it became clear that:

a) the contribution of this newly emerged sector to the UK economy had been previously overlooked, and

b) the start-up and capital requirements of new and growing creative industries did not resemble older, manufacturing or industry based business.

The Creative Advantage Fund (CAF) was a fund set up specifically to address the needs of the creative industries.  In particular it sought to make a number of smaller investments compared to their non-specialist counterparts.

In the West Midlands, a number of factors came together and led specifically to the creation of the Creative Advantage Fund (CAF).  Thomas Dillon, Chair of CAF, explains below how the fund came to be, its original aims and objectives and the many alliances and partnerships that converged to form the first dedicated Venture Capital (VC) fund for creative industries.

The fund brought together a number of partners – from the local authority, private enterprise (Carlton Television), the then regional arts board and the professional sector.  Here, Jonnie Turpie of Maverick Television (who appears again later in our guide as his company became an investee of CAF) outlines one of the drivers some of the challenges involved in setting up the fund.

If you want to know more about the lessons learned from this pioneering fund then a white paper has been created as a companion to The CAF Guide to Investment Readiness.  Entitled “Patient Money”, the publication is available to download here.

Welcome, therefore, to the CAF Guide to Investment Readiness.  After two rounds of investment, two successful business exits and a lot of specialist industry experience, this guide seeks to share the insights, information and knowledge for any creative business that seeks investment in order to grow.

Think your business has what it takes to attract external investment?  You have to answer two crucial questions:

- Do you have a lifestyle or an exit business?

- If the latter, are you willing to concede total control for the chance to grow?

Go to Act 1 for more insight into the first step on our journey to investment and beyond.


Act 1

Where our hero decides whether VC investment is right for them Read more...

Act 2

Where our creative company prepare for the big pitch Read more...

Act 3

Having got the “yes”, our hero signs the deal and their lives together begin Read more...


In which we hear about what happened to our characters in the years to follow Read more...