Ignite Culture, an ACP EU Culture Programme (Eastern Africa) initiative of HEVA Fund LLP and the British Council is excited and proud to announce its grant applicant shortlist for 2021 shortlist of creative businesses. 

In this first application call, Ignite Culture is happy to commit a total of €2.5 million to the final shortlist.

Having launched its inaugural call for applications in August 2021, the ACP-EU Culture Programme (Eastern Africa) invited creative talents with registered and operational businesses in Burundi, the Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda to apply for grants of up to a maximum of 180,000 euro per application.

Kenyan businesses shortlisted  in the award include Book Bunk Trust, Za Kikwetu Productions Ltd, Avandu Vosi Studio, Saba Studios, Bomas of Kenya, BlackRhino VR, Standup Collective and Muthoni Music Entertainment.

“The Ignite Culture grant facility is an exciting project that allows us to expand our outreach to 14 countries on the continent. This project has contributed to the strategic goal of extending our services across the Eastern Africa region, in line with our 2018-2022 strategic goals. Our outreach and commitment to the culture and creative sector includes financial investments, knowledge development as well as capacity building, skill development, and market development. The Ignite Culture Fund will be fundamental to the growth of the overall sector in our region.” Wakiuru Njuguna, Partner and Investment Manager at HEVA.

Wakiuru also added that, “We cannot wait to start working with the successful organisations and are looking forward to seeing the impact of their projects on Eastern Africa.”

Of the eligible creative and cultural industry value chains, it was interesting to note that the majority of applications came from these three subsectors mostly drown from Performance, events and celebrations, Audio visual and interactive media, creative and cultural education were subjected to a rigorous 6-step process. This selection process included 2 review panels, pitch meetings, due diligence, and finally a financial and capacity assessment. Successful applicants were shortlisted, invited to review and execute their grant contracts, and are currently at the final stage.

Commenting on the response to the 2021 application call and subsequent shortlist, Jill Coates, British Council Kenya Country Director shared that, “The incredible response we received from across East Africa has demonstrated the wealth of creative talent and ideas present across the region. We are thrilled to be working with our partners at HEVA and the EU to offer this vital programme for the creative sector in the region. The whole team has been amazed, not only by the number of applications we received, but also the sheer quality of those applications.The applications were very competitive and we were convinced of the capacity and abilities of the final successful applications. We wish to congratulate all of the organisations shortlisted and are looking forward to supporting them to achieve their projects.”

Speaking on behalf of OACPS, Dr Ibrahim Norbert Richard, Assistant Secretary General, Political Affairs and Human Development Department, Organisation of the ACP States said, “We are delighted by the strong response of East African cultural operators to the call for proposals. This demonstrates both the capacity of the ACP-EU Culture Programme to respond to the needs of the arts and culture community in the region and the effectiveness of the awareness-raising efforts of our technical partners in the field.”

Talking about this grant facility in the context of youth, Agnieska Skuratowicz Head of Unit for Youth, Education and Culture in DG International Partnerships at the European Commission noted that, “It is great to see the variety of the first Eastern Africa cultural and creative shortlist for the ACP-EU Culture Programme. Through the first sub-grants we will support creative and digital entrepreneurship in the region, leading to jobs and growth, in particular for young people, as well as cultural diversity and empowerment of youth.”

 Preparations for the second call for applications are underway with more information to follow in May 2022. ACP EU Culture Programme (Eastern Africa) – Ignite Culture and its partners would like to thank all creative talents for their applications, support and engagement.