Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Export fund which has launched the overseas careers of Mercury Prize winners given fresh government backing [February 2024]

The press release issued by the Department for Business and Trade on 8 February 2024.

The UK’s creative industries will be able to seize future opportunities and drive investment in the UK, thanks to new export funding.

  • Kemi Badenoch invites over 100 UK creators, innovators and exporters to a north London SME hub to promote thriving UK creating industries
  • Announces £1.6 million in Music Export Growth Scheme funding to boost 67 artists from across the UK and support homegrown musical talent
  • Scheme has promoted the careers of prize-winning artists and created a more than ten-fold return on investment for the UK

The UK’s creative industries will be able to build on recent trade wins to seize future opportunities and drive investment in the UK, thanks to new government efforts to promote British exporters announced today (Thursday).

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch will host businesses for a meeting of the recently revamped Board of Trade at Tileyard, a creative industries hub in King’s Cross, London. The site is home to 150 music studios and 175 businesses, including some of the UK’s cutting-edge music, tech, and film and TV exporters.

The Secretary of State will announce grants of £1.6 million via the Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) to boost British music exports. The scheme supports small and medium sized music companies to build on their commercial potential by profiling their artists in overseas markets. The uplift in funding – the biggest in the history of the scheme – will support 67 artists from across the UK.

In the past ten years, MEGS has supported the international careers of more than 300 British artists including Dave, Jungle, Rina Sawayama, Kae Tempest and 2023 Mercury Prize winners Ezra Collective. Through 22 rounds, MEGS has invested over £6 million in British music, leading to an estimated £55.5 million financial return to the UK economy and a return on investment of nearly £14 for every £1 received from Government.

Business and Trade Secretary and President of the Board of Trade Kemi Badenoch said:

SMEs are the cornerstones of our communities and the lifeblood of our economy – their success is Britain’s success and we are backing them all the way.

Whether it’s removing burdensome regulations, tackling access to finance or helping them to export overseas, my Department is working around the clock to help them grow their business.

I’m delighted we’re able to back more artists than ever before. I congratulate the successful acts and look forward to seeing them bang the drum for Britain across the globe.

The Board of Trade is one of the government’s highest profile advisory bodies on trade and economic issues. The Board was revamped by Kemi Badenoch last year in an effort to boost British exports around the world, and is now comprised of CEOs from leading food and drink, education and creative industry companies including Sir Lucian Grainge, CEO of Universal Music, and Paul Golding CBE, Chair of Pinewood Group.

Building on the Government’s recently launched Help to Grow campaign and new Small Business Council, today’s Board meeting will discuss how to break down trade barriers so UK exporters can sell more products and services around the world.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said:

The Music Export Growth Scheme has been launching careers internationally for a decade, supporting more than 300 artists, including some of Britain’s most successful acts like Dave, Rina Sawayama and Ezra Collective, while generating more than £55 million for the economy.

Thanks to this latest round of funding – the biggest in MEGS’ history – the scheme will maximise the potential of a new generation of home-grown talent, as part of our ambitious plans to grow the creative industries by £50 billion and support one million more jobs by 2030.

Dr Jo Twist OBE, BPI Chief Executive said:

We’re delighted to announce the biggest round of MEGS funding to date, supporting close to 70 talented and diverse UK artists to take their careers to the next level – building new fanbases globally while boosting British exports.

At a time when UK artists face more competition than ever, we’re grateful to Government for its recognition of the scheme as an essential resource in enabling new British talent to break through on the global stage, while seeing excellent financial returns for music exports.

We only need to look at the success of artists that MEGS has supported over the last ten years to showcase its cultural and financial importance. Therefore, it’s vital that Government continues its support to ensure the UK remains a global music power.

The Music Exports for Growth Scheme sits alongside other government work to drive the international success of our creative industries. DBT’s flagship International Showcase Fund, for example, is supporting a range of SMEs to attend world’s most prominent domestic and international events this year, including London Fashion Week, Cannes Lions, and South by South West (SXSW), which takes place in Austin Texas next month. Since 2020, MEGS has supported a total of 33 artists to perform at SXSW.

Today’s event comes during National Apprenticeship Week. As part of that, ministers and advisers will also meet companies who train apprentices at Tileyard, including Small Green Shoots, who work with young and disadvantaged people via apprenticeships in the music industry.

Today’s Board of Trade event will culminate in a celebration of UK innovation and creativity for over 100 businesses, marking one year since DBT’s formation as a government department. The reception will feature a performance from George Bone, a singer singer-songwriter based at Tileyard.

Nick Keynes, Tileyard London Co-Founder, said:

Tileyard London is absolutely delighted to be hosting the first Board of Trade event of 2024 to help celebrate the ‘year of the SME’. Tileyard is home to some of UK’s leading creative businesses, content creators, creative entrepreneurs and innovators, so we very much look forward to welcoming the Board of Trade and their many affiliates to our campus for this exciting initiative.

Our mission for the past 10 plus years has been to create an environment within which members of our community can build and grow thriving creative businesses, and our continued dedication to this is at the core of everything that we do here at Tileyard.

Notes to editors:

  • Alongside the Board of Trade, the Department for Business and Trade provides a range of country and market specific support to exporters of all sizes. This includes the Export Support Service, Export Champions, International Trade Advisors and UK Export Finance, all targeted at getting businesses across the UK exporting more. Since the start of 2022, the department has resolved trade barriers estimated to be worth over £15 billion to UK businesses over a five year period. In 2023, this was equivalent to removing around £1 million of trade barriers every single hour.


  • UK exports were £870 billion in the 12 months to end of November 2023, an increase of £44 billion (5%) in current prices compared to the 12 months to November 2022. Source:
  • At the start of 2023 there were 5.5 million SME businesses (with 0 to 249 employees), 99.9% of the total business population. Source:

2.5 million people were employed in the UK creative industries between July 2022 and June 2023, of which 69% were employed outside London. Source: