How to take your digital plans forward with ACE small capital funding

24 April 2019, John Denton

ACE opens their small capex grant programme offering grants up to £499,999 to support capital expenditure – with a focus on supporting digital investment as well as other capital projects.

Find out more below and read how Golant Media Ventures (GMV) can support you in submitting a bid.

Investment in digital is in scope

ACE has stated that its strategic capital investment over the period 2018-22 will “prioritise the consolidation and improvement of existing arts and cultural infrastructure” to help organisations “increase their resilience in the longer term…. to become more sustainable and innovative businesses.”

You can apply for a grant of between £100,000 and £499,999 to support capital expenditure. *

What is new in this funding round is that digital investment is now explicitly within scope. ACE guidance suggests that eligible projects might include:

  • installing new technologies and upgrading buildings to deliver increased production and broadcast capacity
  • buying digital and broadcast equipment such as cables, cameras or screens
  • purchasing or developing box office, ticketing, sales and customer relationship management systems where the assets will benefit the widest possible range of partner organisations and support shared approaches to building larger audiences for arts and culture
  • professional fees associated with capital spending on your project

You will need to submit an Expression of Interest between 11 April and 3 May 2019. The application portal will then be open between 31 May and 5 July 2019.

How we can help

As an innovation agency with experience of managing complex projects, we’re keen to work with organisations wanting to apply for – or deliver – projects through this funding stream. 

We can help you to: 

  • shape a vision for your small capital project;
  • embed user-centric thinking into your overall approach;
  • create realistic views on the possible impacts on your organisation;
  • identify the right expertise using our network and partnerships; and
  • implement your chosen solution using an agile project management approach.

Our knowledge of the sector ensures we can offer evidence-based views on how capital programmes should link to your mission and goals; support you in building an effective business case and introduce you to relevant partners and suppliers. Our service design approach can help you meet ACE’s expectation of a strong focus on users and user experience.

Our relevant experience includes:

  • Helping Artsadmin to win and deliver a digital transformation programme funded by an ACE small capital grant. With them and our technology partner Octophin Digital, we developed an open source CRM system to address the specific data needs of the arts and cultural sector.
  • Helping The Audience Agency (before we merged with them), Furtherfield and Central Saint Martins, win funding for digital innovation and Galeri in Caernarfon have their digital equipment financed by Arts Council of Wales resilience funds.
  • A report for Nesta on the adoption of technology in the arts, intended to help organisations navigate the process of organisational change required to make effective use of new technologies.
  • A report for Arts Council England on resilience in the arts, culture and heritage sector, including a look at the role of innovation and R&D.

An Expression of Interest has to be registered on ACE’s Grantium system by May 3rd (12 Noon) so act now!

If you’re interested in talking through a potential bid, then get in touch via

* ACE defines capital expenditure as an amount spent to acquire or improve a long-term asset such as equipment or buildings. If you are offered a capital grant, ACE require it to be shown as a restricted grant and the full grant amount to be capitalised on your organisation’s balance sheet.

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