It is a fund managed by Screen Yorkshire to invest in the production of content within the film, TV, video games and digital sectors within the Yorkshire and Humber region. The European Regional Development Fund for Yorkshire and Humber contributed £14.4m and this sum was matched with private finance on a project-by-project basis resulting in £28.8m investment into content in Yorkshire and Humber.
The fund exists to address the issue of a lack of access to capital for media and digital companies that need to part finance the production of projects. It aims to finance such projects and make a return to create a legacy fund for these industries within the region. It also aims to create jobs and increase the GVA (gross value added) of the successful applicant companies. Targets for job creation and regional spend will be set for each investment and monitored throughout the project.
The fund will not commonly invest more than £500,000. There is no minimum investment, but the fund will not normally consider investments of less than £10,000.
Screen Yorkshire will require an EP Services Fee of approximately 8% of the YCF investment and its external legal costs (if any) need to be added to the budget. This is to cover Screen Yorkshire’s management costs and overheads, since we receive no public funding to cover the operational costs of the YCF.
It can invest in projects within the film, TV, video games and digital sectors within the Yorkshire and Humber region. The fund invests in the production of content, but cannot invest directly in companies. It is unlikely we will invest in short films or any project where there is not a clear and definable expectation that we will recoup our investment.
Yes but development funding is primarily intended for games and digital content development.
The YCF is a co-investment fund; this means that it can only invest where there is at least an equal amount of private finance to match the YCF investment. This co-investment must be on identical terms pro-rata and paripassu (all receipts due to co-investors must be received at the same time in absolute proportion to the amount invested by each party). The YCF can match private investment in project equity; gap finance; mezzanine finance; cashflowing against UK tax credit, broadcaster or distributor contracts; or a mix of the above.
Any type of private finance from banks to personal funds, as well as specialist industry financiers or sales or distribution advances, provided the finance is independent of the company to be invested in. Companies’ own funds or those of Directors and Shareholders, or their immediate relatives, does not count as match. Other public finance does not count as match so investment from public bodies or companies established with a public charter such as the BFI and the BBC cannot be counted. Finance raised via EIS and SEIS offerings cannot be counted. Investment from these financiers can form part of the project financing but is not considered eligible match finance. Equally private investment that is not on identical terms does not count as match, such as broadcast licenses and gap finance or distributor advances that take an exclusive priority position. Loans do not count as match.
We will always need the private match finance to be in place by the time a full application is received. However, Screen Yorkshire has relationships with a number of private financiers who are interested in matching investment by the fund into projects so we may be able to advise whether such finance might be appropriate, following an initial expression of interest.
The project must take place in the region, employ people within the region and be managed by a registered company located in Yorkshire and Humber. The fund is open to companies already based in the region or companies looking to establishing a new entity in Yorkshire and Humber. Investments will be made only once a new entity has been established. Only SMEs (<250 employees; and < 50m euros turnover or <43m euros balance sheet) can apply for finance from the fund. The project should also plan to spend significantly more than the requested investment within the Yorkshire and Humber region.
No, if a new company is to be established then an application can be submitted prior to the company registration process. The establishment of the company would be a condition of receiving investment from the YCF. If the company is wholly or partly owned by another company then the parent company’s details must be added in the relevant section of the application from.
The YCF will seek a profit share in the form of a premium and/or a share of profits. Any investment must be on identical recoupment terms to an equivalent sum of private investment. The fund aims to recoup and make a profit in order to generate funds that can be used for future investments.
Screen Yorkshire’s Head of Investments will manage the fund and make recommendations to the Investment Committee that will have ultimate responsibility for funding decisions. An Audit Committee will ensure that all decisions are taken independently, conform to the Operating Guidelines, and the Investment Policy. The investment performance and processes of the Yorkshire Content Fund will also be monitored by an Independent Advisory Panel.
The success of the Yorkshire Content Fund will be primarily measured on the commercial return to the fund overall and of individual projects. Therefore Screen Yorkshire, as fund manager, will be evaluating projects on this basis – market value, recoupment position, risk and overall fit within the investment portfolio. We will look for evidence of market value such as having a sales agent attached, sales projections, UK and other distribution deals, broadcaster commission, comparables along with risk factors such as the previous experience of the applicants. Secondly, we will consider broader benefits to the region such as production spend within the region and contribution towards overall growth of the sector within Yorkshire and Humber.
Screen Yorkshire has managed investment funds and supported the creative industries within the region for over ten years so we can offer other support or put you in touch with other organisations. If you need studios, locations, crew, facilities, office space, or other suppliers we can help you source these or point you in the direction of someone that can. We can also put you in touch with companies you may want to partner with on your project.
A strategic alliance has been formed with Finance Yorkshire that will ensure access to finance provision in Yorkshire and Humber is comprehensive, joined-up and efficient. Each organisation will signpost relevant projects and/or companies to the other that do not meet its own investment criteria.