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Creative skills and emerging technologies promise new investment, skills and opportunities for the EM3 region

Last updated 27 September 2023
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The exciting world of the CreaTech sector, where creativity meets technology, holds huge potential to drive innovation, economic growth and job creation across the Enterprise M3 (EM3) region.

That is according to research compiled by the University of Creative Arts (UCA), based in Farnham. Its Createch Surrey, report published in May 2023, shows that CreaTech businesses are not just concentrated where video gaming studios are centred in Guildford, but across Surrey and Hampshire and neighbouring areas.

While focussing on Surrey, the report also notes many CreaTech companies tend to be business-to-business organisations feeding into customers across Creative Industries, encompassing the film, television and video game sectors.

By fostering a thriving CreaTech ecosystem, the report said the region can position itself as a hub of creativity and innovation, contributing to the overall growth and prosperity of the UK's economy. In addition, it also said supporting the CreaTech sector to deliver Net Zero and broader sustainability goals should be an important part of future developments in the region.

This chimes well with EM3’s low carbon, high growth vision and the work we play in supporting the CreaTech sector. This includes our close relationship with the UCA, which developed and hosts the Creative Industries Network for Surrey. As an open voluntary network and working group, it aims to bring together a dynamic range of diverse practitioners and businesses from across the creative sector to share common challenges, opportunities and best practices.  

In addition, alongside the UCA and Surrey County Council, EM3 is part of a working group developing a CreaTech cluster called Creative Surrey. The group meets regularly to explore and providing strategic direction on the cluster’s aims and visions.

EM3 also works closely with Royal Holloway, University of London, who in June was announced as a preferred bidder for the national Convergent Screen Technologies and performance in Realtime (CoSTAR) lab. The news was announced when the Government unveiled its Creative Industries Sector Vision, which aims to support an extra million jobs thanks to £77 million of new funding. This builds on more than £230m in government spending on the creative industries since 2021.

The CoSTAR opportunity builds on the university’s StoryFutures Academy, based at its campus in Egham, which received a £900,000 contribution from EM3 in 2020. It brings together universities, leading creative and technology companies, to create new immersive’ story-telling techniques using Augmented, Virtual, Mixed and Cross Reality (AR, VR, MR, XR), and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

CreaTech businesses are, and will continue to play a valuable role, as part of the creative and cultural mix of the EM3 region. Our latest Economy, Labour Market and Skills dashboard, published in July 2023, shows that the region has second largest number of creative and cultural businesses outside of London, employing over 53,000 people and which in 2020 generated an estimated £4.5 billion.

Chris Burchell, EM3 Head of Enterprise and Innovation, said: “Clearly Surrey and the wider EM3 region has the potential to be a world-class destination for the CreaTech sector. I have no doubt that this can be achieved where there is good networking and collaboration with businesses, universities and the public sector working together, which will ultimately drive innovation, promote knowledge sharing and improve access to investment and funding.”

To find out more about how EM3 is supporting the CreaTech sector in our region, please email



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