Creative England has unveiled its fourth annual list of the 50 best up-and-coming entertainment and digital media companies across the English regions.
The list celebrates companies which are driving commercial success and having a social impact.
This year’s CE50 reflects the expanding world of immersive technologies, with virtual reality and augmented reality companies such as Interactive imagination in Hertfordshire, making innovative use of technology across VR, touch-screen and mechatronic interactions within public spaces.
Enlighten has become an authoritative name in the world of AR, with cutting-edge work which, among many applications, provides learners with virtual access to a construction site, a sports stadium or even an art gallery.
CE50 companies using technology within children’s education include YouTeachMe, the brainchild of Derby-based Paul Rose, a former primary school head teacher who has used his first-hand experience to create an innovative video platform for teachers to share materials, and Chatta, which is a unique training programme designed to accelerate children’s speech and language skills.
Businesses using tech to tell stories include newly formed, Manchester-based, Virtual Reality Associates, a company producing narratives with immersive media; software company Covatic, which has launched the world’s first broadcast personalisation engine to help media companies adapt the content viewers’ see in an increasingly competitive digital media marketplace and Slanted Theory in Sheffield, whose technology enables companies to visualise and explore their data in new 3D ways.
CE50 companies helping to boost skills and help the growing technology sector to thrive are Manchester-based Northcoders, whose bootcamp is designed to get coding beginners into entry level software engineering roles, and InnovateHer in Liverpool, which is on a mission to enhance the coding and digital sector as a more attractive place for young girls and women.
Utilising tech for social change is Bulbshare, an audience collaboration tool that empowers people to shape their causes and campaigns, often giving voice to diverse or marginalised groups and Knowle West Media Centre in Bristol, supporting social action for individuals and communities using technology, community arts and education.
Utilising tech to increase workplace productivity and engagement are FreelanceDiary, a smart app based diary, via which companies can view available freelancers immediately and hire directly, and London based start-up ThanksBox, a company revolutionising employee engagement with its online workplace communications system.
Landmrk, a company that span out of 2017 CE50 company Strange Thoughts, is a location based experiences platform built on the mobile web that has attracted the attention of Lynx for its Anthony Joshua campaign, and Shakira, both of whom have used the platform to created mixed-reality experiential marketing campaigns, creating hotspots UK and world-wide to interact with consumers in real time.
“Our creative industries are an economic and cultural powerhouse enjoyed by millions around the world and it is great to see the innovative and creative talent on this list,” said Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, Margot James.
“We are working closely with industry to make sure this upward trajectory continues as we build a Britain fit for the future.”
Creative England champions and supports the creative industries across the regions outside of London, along with nominations from regional partners including The Growth Company in Greater Manchester, Cultivate Cornwall, Stoke City Council, NGI (NewcastleGateshead Initiative) and Tech Nation.