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How to Apply

We are currently closed for applications but we hope to make an announcement about future funding rounds soon. Please sign up to our newsletter for further information as it becomes available.

The information supplied below is for reference only.

Application Process

Stage One: Video Pitch Application

CLOSING DATE:  Round is now closed

  • Produce a 2-minute pitch video – we strongly advise you read the guidance provided in the tabs below, and attend a webinar (see information at the bottom of the page or click here for webinar sign up) to ensure you cover the necessary information.
  • Before you can upload your video you must submit a short online application in support of your video by noon on Wednesday 23rd November.
  • The link to the online application form is available below this section.
  • The link to upload your video will be sent the week commencing 28th November 2016 and videos must be submitted by noon on Friday 2nd December 2016.

Stage Two: Written Application
The video pitches will be used to select a long list of applicants, these applicants will be asked to complete a stage two written application. Invitations for written application will be issued January 2017.  Further details are provided in the tabs below.

Grant Value and Timescales

The maximum grant we are offering for teams is £25,000.  For solo developers (without contractors) this is capped at £15,000.

We’ve received a record number of applications to date, which has extended the length of our review and due diligence process. Your application should be based on a project where the funded work starts on or after 1st May 2017 and completes on or before 31st March 2018.

Please click through the tabs below for more information on applying to the next funding round.

For this round, the following applicant criteria apply:

  • You’ll normally be a registered, active games development company.
  • You can also apply as a new startup, even before you have legally formed your company with Companies House (although grants will only be awarded subsequently to your company once established).
  • Companies that apply must have no more than 50 employees.
  • You do not need to be PAYE registered before applying, although you will need to pay company employees using PAYE if you intend to claim their costs from the grant. If you’re not PAYE registered presently you’ll need to allow sufficient time for registration prior to grant award.
  • You can apply as a company with a single (PAYE) employee, either supported by contractors, or where you are carrying out all of the development work yourself (in which case you would be the PAYE employee).  There are no exceptions to this.
  • You will need at least 6 weeks of working capital to enable you to draw down the grant in arrears, which must be claimed monthly after incurring and defraying your costs.
  • The scale of development will be such that our grant will represent no more than 50% of the total costs of the project.
  • We will consider applicants where part of the team includes UK-based contractor arrangements. UK-based contract work can be claimed from the grant.
  • Your project can include employees and contractors based outside of the UK, but these costs could not be claimed from the grant.
  • Your project must not include gambling elements, or content that we deem to be potentially reputationally damaging (solely at our discretion).
  • Your project should be a digital game or use digital games technology, we do not support purely non-digital games such as physical card games or board games (although we may support work on a digital companion app for non-digital games where the game requires the app to be played and this constitutes a significant amount of work).
  • Your project can already be in development, although we don’t support projects that have already launched and do not fund work carried out prior to the grant being offered.

If you are still unsure, you can contact us with a paragraph or two about your project to check for basic eligibility. However please note that we don’t enter into extended discussions regarding specific projects prior to any application.

You may only claim for approved employment costs for UK employees and UK contractors declared on your application form.

For the avoidance of doubt that means:

  • Net pay costs of UK-domiciled employees paid through PAYE evidenced by payslips and bank statement entries.
  • Employers NI costs of UK domiciled employees paid through PAYE evidenced by remittance advice to HMRC and bank statement entries.
  • Detailed UK-domiciled contractor invoices exclusive of VAT (if you aren’t VAT registered you can claim the VAT element subject to agreeing with us and providing appropriate evidence) evidenced by invoice and bank statement entry showing payment.
  • We’ll expect employee and contractor charge out rates to be consistent with industry norms and any inflated rates will require multi-year evidence of salary etc rates.

No costs of any other nature will be approved. If you include such costs in your application for grant money it could result in negative scoring in your application.

Applicants will be asked to upload a video pitch via email invite from Dropbox.

You should keep this short (2 minutes or less), and avoid gimmicks or plain talking-head types of pitches (a mix of text, images, diagrams and voiceovers should cover it – but there’s no need for professional editing). Covering the details below in full is more important than a slick video.

You should briefly cover:

  • The team or company – who you are, why you are the right people to be making this project.
  • The project – what it is, what the unique selling points are.
  • Route to market – how you will secure funding to complete the project, who will be helping you launch or market the project, etc.
  • Other important impacts – if this project could prove transformative for your company and has important outcomes that aren’t purely commercial, then you should mention these.
  • The future – there’s no right answer, but we would like to hear what your ambition for the project and company is, where you see it going.

Include concept artwork or early footage from any proof-of-concept work you may have already carried out – it’s a lot easier to show than explain. Pictures or diagrams may also help to more quickly explain things you haven’t built yet, be creative.

The video pitch will be viewed in isolation to select companies who will proceed to stage two of the application process, so you should include all the relevant information. Do not assume the panel will be familiar with your written company details.

Please note:

  • Do not exceed the 2 minute video length limit – your pitch will be excluded
  • Do not send a standalone game trailer or generic business promotional video
  • Do not zip, password protect, encrypt, or otherwise make your video difficult to access

Applicants that make successful video pitches will be asked to complete a written application, full guidance will be provided at the time.

Here is a summary of the information that will be required:

  • Additional applicant contact details
  • Company name, address, and registration number (if available)
  • Company background and profile information
  • Project information, including target platforms, a general description, a summary of the innovative aspects, summaries of commercial plans and project costings
  • Employee and contractor information related to the development of the project

Invitations for stage two applications will be sent out week commencing 9th January, and must be submitted by 23rd January.

You may wish to prepare for this ahead of time, especially for providing commercial and route-to-market information, where some evidence of research into the target market is expected.

The written application is via a web form and will not accept images, video, or other files. Embedded links will not be followed, so you should expect to edit your information down to fit within tight word limits (below 500 words in most sections).

If your application is successful, you’ll need to be able provide:

  • Authorisation for us to undertake credit and other due diligence checks.
  • Your HMRC PAYE registration details and employer reference number.
  • Assurance that for any work on the funded project directors will pay themselves via PAYE (no dividends, director loan repayments, connected contractor invoices etc accepted).
  • A valid State Aid de-Minimis declaration in a form we’ll provide, taking into account the scale of funding applied for. (Explanation of State aid de Minimis rules: applicants will not be eligible for grants if the grant will mean they will receive more than 200,000 euros from any source over the previous three-year period).
  • Enough working capital to cover 6 weeks expenditure on the project upfront.
  • Completion of an IP Housekeeping Audit (we’ll show you how).
  • Company profile information and data to help build a detailed picture of the games development sector in the UK.
  • Make reference to and acknowledge the support of UK Games Talent and Finance and its relationship with DCMS in any publicity materials that refer to the Approved Project. (We’ll provide the templates for logos etc).

You’ll be required to confirm that you can provide the above at time of application.

What are the terms? Is it repayable?

No, it is a grant and provided all grant conditions are met during and after the project, repayment will not be required. All executive directors of funded companies will be expected to make a public pledge to re-invest an unstated proportion of any significant returns in talent / IP development for the UK games ecosystem via the UK Games Fund on a discretionary basis, should their company benefit disproportionately as a result of this support. All companies will be expected to volunteer to make staff available to support UK games talent development projects as mentors and judges.

How to claim the grant once awarded

All claims will require evidence of spend incurred and defrayed by the company together with a project report indicating satisfactory progress including, where required, a video of the build. Evidence of spend is usually bank statement linked to payroll details and paid contractor invoices. Payment of claims is at the discretion of UK Games Fund and will be made as soon as practicable following receipt of a valid claim. Claims not received within six weeks from incurring expenditure may be disallowed at the sole discretion of UK Games Fund.

If you don’t commence work and submit your first claim in a satisfactory form within 4 weeks of the offer letter, or if there are undue delays at any point we reserve the right to withdraw our offer.

Other things to consider

With the wide range of support measures now provided by the UK Government (including for example creative sector or R&D tax credits, innovation grants and SEIS/EIS investment schemes) you should seek professional advice on the blend of funding and various schemes that your company is eligible for or benefitting from, particularly in terms of (for example) whether one relief could cancel eligibility for another, within the terms of specific project budgets. You should also remember to take this broad view of public support when assessing receipts that should be considered in de Minimis State Aid calculations. All liabilities in this regard will be with the applicant who will be required to warrant accordingly.

Unsuccessful applicants

No correspondence will be entered into and there is no appeal.

Due to the anticipated volume of applicants there will be no feedback given on the stage one applications.

Any constructive comments provided by external reviewers will be passed on to stage two applicants after the selection process has completed.

All of the foregoing information is provided for guidance only and does not form part of any contract.

UK Games Fund Application Support Webinar Registration

This round of funding is now closed