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Culture & Business Scotland Fund set to reopen, boosting culture and business collaboration

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Posted 18 April 2024

Having invested over £3 million in almost 170 business and culture sector partnerships across Scotland since 2017, the Culture & Business Scotland Fund (C&BS Fund) is returning for its seventh year with a renewed focus on boosting collaboration between the two powerhouse sectors.

The C&BS Fund invests in sponsorship where funds, goods or services are provided by businesses in exchange for certain rights or benefits provided by the culture organisation partner to address business needs or create competitive advantage.

Non-profit organisations undertaking activity in arts and heritage can apply for investment of £1 for every £2 of business sponsorship. For example, an organisation receiving sponsorship of £20,000 from a business could apply for up to £10,000 of additional investment from the C&BS Fund.

ARTS FOCUS: Financial backing obtained through the Fund can have a game-changing impact on culture organisations of all sizes, backgrounds and locations. Not only does the Fund facilitate cultural projects and activities which may not have been possible without this support, but it also serves to encourage ongoing partnership working, where culture and business organisations take an integrated, collaborative approach to their relationship.

BUSINESS FOCUS: The Fund is set to provide an additional boost to work already being facilitated by business sponsorship, providing further opportunities for businesses to gain from the commercial offerings provided by culture sector partners, whether these benefits take the form of meeting ESG targets, gaining access to target audiences, or creating added value to their operations through engagement with culture.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society was amongst the beneficiaries of last year’s Culture & Business Scotland Fund. Having managed the world’s biggest arts festival since 1958, the Society partnered with Playbill, an American magazine for theatregoers, who saw an opportunity to further expose US audiences to the wide variety of new shows delivered at the Fringe Festival while promoting the publication amongst Fringe audiences.

Facilitated by an investment from the C&BS Fund, the partnership ensured that two key deliverables of the 2023 Fringe Festival were made possible. The Fringe App, which helps festivalgoers to navigate the array of shows on offer, was reintroduced and proved exceptionally popular with 144,000 users and 23% of sales made through the app. Meanwhile, an expanded Fringe Street Events programme allowed visitors to Edinburgh to experience the carnival atmosphere of the festival for free on the city’s streets, hosting over 500 performers and improving the festival’s accessibility as well as creating exposure for business sponsor Playbill.

Westaly Duignan, Head of Fundraising and Development at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: ‘“Funding from Culture & Business Scotland this year allowed us to extend the footprint of our partnership with new sponsor, Playbill, and enhance the experience of our Street Events programme for both audiences and performers. The funding helped us to deliver clear signage to, and branding of, the performance spaces on the Mound, in central Edinburgh, adding value to our partnership and supporting audiences to see free shows. A key element of this was the Fringe Taster Stage, a popular area for artists, local community groups and schools to perform at the Fringe. Our thanks to the team at Culture & Business Scotland for their kind support”.

To streamline the application process, Culture & Business Scotland are introducing two brief stages prior to application: a short film to hear an insight into the new guidelines and an expression of interest form to ensure applicant organisations are eligible before they compose their application outlining their partnership and project in more detail. This is designed to make best use of culture organisations’ resources.

David Watt, Chief Executive at Culture & Business Scotland, said: “We’re pleased to be able to deliver the C&BS Fund for a seventh year, thanks to continuing investment from the Scottish Government, helping to support innovative partnerships, while incentivising businesses to invest in culture and championing the benefits this can bring. We aim to invest in as many collaborative partnerships as possible to showcase the incredible work that these relationships can facilitate”.

Culture Secretary, Angus Robertson added: “I am pleased that the Culture & Business Scotland Fund will be reopening for applications shortly. The Fund recognises the benefits of strategic partnerships between culture and business. I would encourage culture and heritage organisations to consider applying to the Fund.”

 Interested organisations can find further information and support here: https://www.cultureandbusiness.scot


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