Screen Queensland offers $1 million to help firms diversify and innovate

Jo Dillon.

Screen Queensland is spending $1 million to help the state’s screen businesses diversify, build capability and develop new revenue streams during and beyond the pandemic.

In the program named SQ Enterprise, grants of up to $150,000 each will be available to businesses across a wide spectrum: production, production services, post-production, game development and distribution, as well as related media companies which are keen to move into the screen sector.

The funding can support a range of activities including the development of projects that can move into production in the next 12 months, hiring expertise and additional staff, diversifying talent, new partnerships and investments, marketing, infrastructure and innovation.

Applicants must furnish a compelling a 12-month business plan, financial strategy, market and competitor analysis and demonstrate the immediate and long-term benefits to the Queensland screen industry.

SQ Enterprise is the latest component of the $3.3 million support package announced in March to help the local industry withstand the COVID-19 shutdown and maximise emerging opportunities.

Applications close on May 29 and Jo Dillon, the agency’s executive vice president- content, says she hopes the initiatives that are funded will start to roll out from July 1.

Dillon tells IF: “We expect many people will come in with great ideas which, potentially, we won’t be able to fund this time around.

“But this demonstrates the health of the sector in Queensland and that we do expect to be spoiled for choice.

“This is a great time for businesses to look at what they are doing, find new ways of operating and new business opportunities.”

Screen Queensland CEO Kylie Munnich said: “Like every industry, the screen sector is living through unprecedented upheaval and uncertainty. Right now, it’s essential we boost resilience for Queensland screen businesses but we must also nurture agility and invest in innovative businesses and projects.

“SQ Enterprise has been specifically designed to meet these needs and, as the crisis eases, will ensure Queensland companies are the vanguard of the screen industry, leading innovation and forging new creative opportunities. This will foster growth in sustainable businesses that deliver returns.”

There were more than 50 applications for the first round of the Creative Consultations Program to mentor up-and-coming writers and other creatives.

The mentors, writers Joe Brumm, Beatrix Christian, Stephen M. Irwin, Anthony Mullins and Meg O’Connell, are in the process of choosing the projects and people to be mentored. A second round of the program will be announced soon.

There has been a significant uptick of proposals for the Ideas Program, which has been increased by $250,000.

Nearly half the $3.3 million has been committed and the agency intends to announce the balance of the initiatives in the coming weeks and to have all those programs up and running before the end of this financial year.