Scottish culture success with £1.87 million from business partnerships

120 cultural projects have benefited from a collective investment of more than £1.87 million by partnering with Scottish business in what is being hailed as a decade of success for a pioneering programme that promotes collaboration between arts and business.

Funded by the Scottish Government via Creative Scotland and run by Arts & Business Scotland, the New Arts Sponsorship Grants programme has been running since 2006. The programme is open to Scottish businesses interested in sponsoring an arts or heritage project for the first time as well as those businesses that have not sponsored such a project for at least three years. Cultural organisations having identified a business sponsor for their project can apply to the programme, which provides pound for pound match funding of business sponsorship valued anywhere between £1,000 and £40,000.

In total, the New Arts Sponsorship Grants programme has invested over £7.5 million across more than 500 individual arts and heritage projects. By providing match funding for business sponsorship of cultural projects, it has not only helped a wide variety of arts and heritage projects across Scotland get off the ground but has doubled the benefit to participating businesses. The programme is open to projects, businesses and cultural organisations of all sizes – be they large and nationwide or small and locally focused.

One business to have benefited from taking part is financial services organisation UBS Wealth Management, which sponsored three events at the 2015 Edinburgh International Book Festival, directly reaching an audience of over 1,600 people who attended events involving authors Ian Rankin, Julia Donaldson and Charles Handy.

Commenting on the project, Debjani Raffan, Regional Head UBS Wealth Management Scotland said:

“It's great that the New Arts Sponsorship Grant has matched our financial commitment and helped to bring this great festival to such a wide audience. The New Arts Sponsorship Grant was integral to UBS being able to sponsor the Edinburgh International Book Festival, a very successful first arts sponsorship in Scotland.”

Legal firm Inksters Solicitors have also benefitted from the programme, providing sponsorship that enabled the Scottish Ensemble to travel to Shetland to perform the folk-inspired double concerto Seavaigers and a number of other works in a series of concerts as part of a special residency.

Brian Inkster, Founder of Inksters Solicitors, said:

“I was born and raised in Shetland so had an immediate affinity with this project. But I am also a long-time supporter of the Scottish Ensemble and was delighted to sponsor this project to enable them to visit Shetland and perform there. Our involvement was hugely beneficial in raising awareness of Inksters in Shetland and the range of legal services we offer. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend other businesses to get involved.”

Chief Executive of Arts and Business Scotland David Watt said:

“Over the last decade since it started, we’ve been really impressed by the commitment of so many businesses in the business services, financial and legal sectors that, through participation in this programme, have collectively benefited arts and heritage projects across Scotland with more than £1.87 million of investment .

“Looking back over the past decade, this programme clearly demonstrates the mutual benefits of successful partnership between arts and business. I would urge those businesses unfamiliar with the programme to find out more about just how rewarding arts sponsorship can be – and the hugely positive impact it can have on their reputation, profile and bottom line. With the participation and support of even more businesses, we look forward to making 2017 another year to remember for arts and business collaboration across Scotland.”

Applications for project funding must be made by the arts or heritage partner and submitted at least three months before the cultural activity begins. The project receiving funding must be completed no more than nine months after the date of submitting a funding application. Only businesses that have not sponsored an arts or heritage project in the last three financial years are eligible to take part – as well as those businesses that are completely new to cultural sponsorship.