The creative sector in Birmingham has received a £4.3 million cash boost.
City Council bosses are celebrating after a bid to for European funding was confirmed - which means a programme which creates and safeguards hundreds of jobs will be extended.
The cash for the Business Support for Creative Industries Programme will be be provided by the European Development Fund, the City Council, its partners and companies backing the project.
The scheme provides a package of support which covers areas including design, performing arts, music, screen-based media software and publishing.
Coun Ken Hardeman, cabinet member for regeneration said a huge range of business would benefit from the extended programme.
He said "This is fantastic news for the City Council, our partners and the creative industries sector.
"The £4.3 million extension to our Business Support for Creative Industries Programme will enable us to build ..TEXT: upon and continue the excellent work to date for a further three years."
The project was developed in recognition of creative industries being a high growth sector, a key priority for the region and to address specific barriers for growth of the sector.
Initially launched in 2003, it had, before the latest award, received funding of around £5 million.
The European Development Fund ploughed £1.5 million into the scheme.
Among the companies already supported is Jewellery Quarter-based Events Organised, which received £5,000.
Director Emma Stott, aged 26, explained how the cash had helped her company.
Birmingham woman Ms Stott said: " The first £2,500 of
the grant was awarded to assist us with the move from my home office to official office premises at the Big Peg in the Jewellery Quarter.
"I was finding it increasingly difficult to work from home, as I did not have sufficient space to accommodate first and foremost, my staff, and secondly, the ever growing amount of materials and event props.
"The move to the Big Peg enabled me to address both of these concerns and gave us the professional image we were seeking for the company."
She said the remainder of the grant was awarded to assist with the design and production of an event portfolio.
"Until this point, costs associated with advertising and marketing had been kept to a minimum, but the feasibility grant contributed significantly towards a stunning DVD showcasing our work.
"It is no easy task to start your own company, and it is therefore vital that there is sufficient support available for new start ups and small businesses. I'm delighted the programme has been extended."
The scheme's progress since launch has been carefully tracked.
Up to January it had helped more than 132 new businesses start up, helped generate £6 million in new sales and supported 600 firms. It had also created 442 jobs directly while safeguarding 900.
The project will continue to be managed by Birmingham City Council's Creative Development Team, and will be delivered in partnership with Birmingham and Solihull Business Link and Screen West Midlands. ..SUPL: