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Learn more about sector support from DCAL and Invest NI


Harnessing the creative and cultural sectors to deliver wider social and economic change


The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) is a department for the economy and equality. The Department is dedicated to fully harnessing the transformative power of the creative and cultural sectors to deliver wider social and economic change. Through culture, arts and leisure, DCAL and its Arms Length Bodies will continue to deliver innovative programmes aimed at improving the economy and the environment; enhancing education, health and wellbeing; and promoting social inclusion across society.

DCAL has responsibility for a diverse portfolio ranging across arts and creativity, museums, libraries, sport, inland waterways and inland fisheries, linguistic diversity and public records. DCAL is also the NI Government lead on the creative industries.

The Department already supports thousands of jobs in the creative and cultural sector. Supported programmes aim to help more individuals increase their chances of securing meaningful employment across the economy. Support is provided for skills development, work experience, direct support to companies and social enterprises, and increasingly the use of social clauses in grant-aid and procurement. DCAL also continues to support the broader economy through contributing to the tourism offering and supporting the creative industries sector. The Department also supports a wide range of educational and life-long learning opportunities available across the DCAL Family to individuals of all ages.

The Department funds and oversees the Creative Industries Innovation Fund. In recent years an extensive and diverse range of creative industries and wider innovation initiatives have been developed and supported by the Department to enhance creativity, research and development, and wider innovation across the economy. DCAL co-funds, with Invest NI, a new Music Business Support Programme called Generator NI. Other initiatives have included a pilot Creative Voucher Scheme as well as App development competitions and initiatives supporting the STEAM agenda. DCAL was the primary funder of Derry~Londonderry City of Culture 2013 and is committed to further developing the City and the North West of Ireland as a regional, national and international hub for creative industries and innovation.

Invest NI

Invest NI supports the local economy by helping new and existing businesses to compete internationally, and by attracting new investment to Northern Ireland.

The overall goal is to help create wealth for the benefit of the whole community. Invest NI does this by helping to rebuild the economy in the short term and rebalance it in the long term. It offers support for business development, and help to increase productivity and export levels, attract high quality inward investment, and stimulate a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. It can help businesses succeed through a combination of financial support, tailored guidance and information.

The Creative Industries is a sectoral priority for Invest NI. It recognises that Northern Ireland’s creative industries sector is a fusion of exceptional talent and state-of-the-art technology. Invest NI also provides – a free service and the official online channel for business advice and guidance in Northern Ireland. It contains essential information, support and services for you and your business – whether you work for a large organisation or are on your way to starting up.

A dedicated section provides an overview of the creative industries and further information on starting and growing a creative business; protecting your creative work; training and skills for creative businesses; sales and marketing advice for creative businesses; and sources of creative businesses advisory support and funding opportunities. See

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