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Creative Grants and Where To Find Them
With a variety of grants out there catering to a diversity of industries, there’s no better time than now to make your ideas a reality.
Whether you’re a filmmaker who wants to learn more about your craft, or an aspiring entrepreneur with a great idea for an app, there are a number of schemes available in Malaysia to support you. Some are funded by the government, while others come from independent bodies. Here’s a look at seven of them.
The Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre was launched by the government in 2014 to support entrepreneurs, particularly those in the tech start-up arena. MaGIC connects aspiring entrepreneurs with experienced mentors and potential investors, while also offering training and other kinds of support.
Under MaGIC's ASEAN Start-Up Accelerator, you’ll get the chance to attend a four-month programme to learn from successful entrepreneurs and meet investors. You’ll receive a monthly stipend, return flight tickets, free accommodation and start-up benefits worth USD400,000. There are places for 50 start-ups and spots are open to small teams of one to three people from anywhere in the world who are looking to establish their business in the ASEAN market.
Set up in memory of the late theatre practitioner Krishen Jit, this fund is organised by Five Arts Centre and Astro to support pioneering Malaysian artists and creative work. Funds are available for training and residences, research and documentation, as well as new creative work. Successful grantee projects could be as diverse as making video art, choreographing dance or publishing a book.
The funders look out for projects which reflect on Malaysian identity and society; as well as works which are in some way experimental in approach. Each applicant can apply for funds between RM2000 to RM20,000.
The Creative Lifelong Learning programme, or CILL, is aimed at people who are in the creative multimedia industry. This covers screenwriters, directors and producers, audio engineers, animators, game designers and visual effects specialists. These grants aim to cover the cost for you to do a workshop, short course or attachment to enhance skills and experience. Some of the schemes include travel expenses and a per diem when this training is overseas.
The scheme has four main opportunities, aimed at different experience levels. There is an Up-skilling and Re-skilling scheme, an Attachment Scheme, an Internship Scheme and Creative Skills Certification. These have different criteria for applicants, ranging from young people looking for their first taste of the industry, to those who have a few years of experience in production.
The national film council of Malaysia offers a few different grants for filmmakers, at different stages of film production. There’s a Micro Fund of up to RM5000, aimed at funding videos that are designed to be viewed on mobile, and there are larger funds to support feature films that span development, production, co-production and marketing. There is also a separate fund for CGI specialists.
For the larger grants, FINAS requires a track record of previous work. Production companies should also be more than 50% owned by Malaysians. However, the Micro Fund is open to individual applicants, aged 18 and above.
Perhaps you want to research urban history, or give your neighbourhood’s back lane a new purpose? If so, apply for one of Think City’s grants.
Think City, a subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional Berhad, aims to improve sustainability and liveability in Malaysian cities. The body seeks out projects from individuals, groups and businesses that will have an impact on improving city life - whether it’s through heritage education or revitalising an underused part of the city.
There are four type of grants available, and these span Think City’s focus areas of community building, shared spaces, research, built environment, urban studies and publications. For now, Think City is looking for projects within Kuala Lumpur, George Town and Butterworth.
My Performing Arts Agency has supported the work of artists in dance, theatre, music and other types of performance.
Under the Royal Arts Gala, the privately owned agency has previously given out funds to help Malaysians take their performances overseas, build international links through co-productions, develop technical and managerial skills and carry out research about performing arts. Grants range from RM1000 to RM30,000 and are available to both individuals and groups.
Launched by the government to support Malaysia’s creative industries, myCreative Ventures is an agency which gives out loans to entrepreneurs in fashion and design, content creation, music, literature, performing arts, traditional arts and visual arts.
While these are loans (and not grants), myCreative Ventures has helped various businesses to get off the ground. Loans must be repaid after five years. Currently, myCreative Ventures has funded 60 companies and disbursed RM120 million in loans to companies such as Nelissa Hilman, KRU, Silverfish Books and LOL Events.
Note: not all schemes listed here operate on an annual basis. Check with the organisations for more details.
By Ling Low
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