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New start-up funding – Abertay Prototype Fund

Posted onMarch 12, 2012

New start-up funding – Abertay Prototype Fund

Entrepreneurs looking to launch a new digital company or develop a new game or software product can now apply for up to £25,000 from the University of Abertay Dundee’s Prototype Fund.

Applications to this fourth funding round should be made at http://prototypefund.abertay.ac.uk/

The Prototype Fund model has already proved a success, with one initial £25,000 investment attracting an extra £800,000 of private funding to bring a game to market.

A small initial investment bridges the extremely difficult financial gap that stops great teams with great ideas: without funding to develop a working prototype it can be impossible to attract further investment to build a sustainable business.

Tom Naylor, Director of Two Monocle Games, said: “The Prototype Fund has given me the resources and help I need to make ‘Cult Leader’ a reality. It provided me with talented students, enough funds to support my team during production, and software, hardware and office space that would otherwise be a massive drain on company resources.

“The Prototype Fund can provide a unique opportunity for anyone wishing to start out on their own. If you dream of independence or the chance to make your idea a reality then you should definitely apply. This is the chance to take the best game concept you ever had and start building it.”

Facebook game ‘Cult Leader’ is due for release soon, and is a satirical social game in which you build a cult from your online friends. Like the company’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/TwoMonocleGames to hear when the game is released.

Paul Durrant, Director of Business Development at Abertay University, said: “The Abertay University Prototype Fund has received over 150 applications to date, showing that the UK is struggling to finance creative start-up companies.

“This market failure has real implications for economic growth and the creation of new jobs, but initiatives like the Prototype Fund are helping to unlock this trapped value in the economy.”

He added: “We’re looking for talented teams with commercially strong ideas. Successful applicants to date have developed prototypes of social and mobile games, and software products for analytics and project management.

“And all successful applicants have the opportunity to work within Abertay University, right at the heart of the growing Dundee computer games cluster, with access to some of the most talented games graduates anywhere in the world.”

The Prototype Fund is backed by investment from Abertay University, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and the Scottish Government through the European Regional Development Fund.

Applications to the fourth funding round close at 12pm on Friday 13 April.

For full details, and to apply, please visit http://prototypefund.abertay.ac.uk/

Scottish Parliament computer games group welcomed by Abertay University

Posted onDecember 20, 2011
Proposals to form a Cross-Party Group on the Computer Games Industry in the Scottish Parliament represent a positive move that deserves widespread engagement, the University of Abertay Dundee said today (Tuesday 20 December).
Computer games are a high-value, high-growth industry with significant potential to drive economic growth through exports, attracting domestic and international investment, and creating new intellectual property.
The group recently elected Joe FitzPatrick MSP (SNP) as Convener and Mary Scanlon MSP (Conservative) and Jenny Marra MSP (Labour) as co-Vice Conveners.
Abertay University is an international leader in educating computer games developers and launched the world’s first Computer Games Technology degree. Abertay also runs a Prototype Fund for investing in new companies and new game ideas.
Dr Louis Natanson, who leads computer games education at Abertay, said: “We warmly welcome moves to establish a Cross-Party Group on the Computer Games Industry in the Scottish Parliament.
“The computer games industry is an important employer in Scotland, but most importantly this a sector with huge potential for the future.
“Games are a fast-growing multi-billion pound industry where we already punch above our weight. The opportunity to take a major share in this rapidly changing sector should not be missed.”
Paul Durrant, Director of Business Development at Abertay, added: “There are lots of important issues for this Cross-Party Group to address, including how we can create the most supportive business environment for new companies and new investment.
“What our economy needs is decisive, coordinated action that brings politicians, industry and educators all together to work together. We hope to see both the UK trade bodies associated with games development contribute to the work of the group as well as the views of many of the small independent studios and new start-ups that aren’t yet members of a trade body.”
Surrounding Abertay University in Dundee is a cluster of innovative games companies working on console, online, mobile phone and social networking games.
The past year has seen a surge in the formation of new companies, including those launched through the Abertay University Prototype Fund. This initiative puts up to £25,000 into new business ideas, to help them establish themselves and attract further investment.
The Cross-Party Group on the Computer Games Industry is currently proposed and awaiting final approvals.

UK Government ‘step forward for computer science’ welcomed by Abertay University

Posted onNovember 28, 2011
The UK Government has made “a positive step forward for computer science” in its official response to the Next Gen report, the University of Abertay Dundee said today.
In the document from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Government commits itself to “working with Next Gen Skills, educators and others to develop an attractive computer science offering for schools”.
The Next Gen report into the UK’s video games and visual effects industries recommended earlier this year that computer science be introduced as a core part of school education.
Its recommendations also included introducing Abertay University’s Dare to be Digital model of workplace simulation into university courses across the UK, which the Government today endorsed.
Dr Louis Natanson, who leads computer games education at Abertay University, said: “Today the UK Government has made a positive step forward for computer science by recognising its importance for the nation’s future economic development.
“Computer games and visual effects are high-growth, high-value industries with the potential to drive Britain forward, increasing investment and exports, and repositioning the UK as one of the world’s most creative nations.
“However, without school children being excited about computer science – and being encouraged to study art, maths and science side-by-side – we are at risk of falling further behind.”
The Government’s response praises Abertay University’s ongoing work to make degrees industry-relevant, its work with the BAFTA Young Games Designers competition, and its Prototype Fund for investment in new companies and giving graduates valuable work experience.
Paul Durrant, Director of Business Development at Abertay, added: “Action is needed right across the UK, from educators, industry and both the UK and Scottish Governments.
“The Scottish Government’s Curriculum for Excellence is, for instance, an excellent opportunity to teach subjects like art and computer science together.
“We need to see today’s positive step forward continue, with real support continuing to come from both the UK and Scottish Governments.”
The Next Gen report by creative industries experts Ian Livingstone and Alex Hope was commissioned by Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries, in July 2010.
They were tasked to produce an independent report into the skills needed for the UK to thrive as a world-class centre for the computer games and visual effects industries.

UK Government Minister backs investment in Dundee games cluster

Posted onSeptember 19, 2011
UK Government Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts MP today visited Dundee’s computer games and technology cluster, announcing a new investment in Proper Games from the University of Abertay Dundee’s Prototype Fund. Mr Willetts announced the £25,000 investment to develop a new game during a tour of the city, which also included the world-leading games education and high-tech research facilities at Abertay University. Proper Games will receive funding in the second round of the £5 million Abertay University-run project, which is funded by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and the European Regional Development Fund. The other recipients in the second round will be announced soon. The fund looks to invest directly in small or young creative businesses, giving them the capital they need to create a prototype computer game or digital media product. This is intended to allow the companies to attract further private investment and create more jobs. 

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