The UK video games industry has received a shot in the arm today in the form of a £4 million government fund to help small companies and start-ups get their foot in the door.

Promised as part of the July budget and live from today, the Video Games Prototype Fund takes over from 2010's Abertay Fund which expired last year. Like its predecessor, the new fund offers businesses grants of up to £25,000 each in order to turn their ideas for new games into working prototypes which can then be used to woo private investment - or, as is increasingly the case, to launch a crowd-funding campaign via Kickstarter or similar.

Aimed at small and micro-businesses resident in the UK, the fund will total £4 million in grants over the next four years and also offers mentoring opportunities and skills support to applicants.

'We lobbied for this kind of support and we are pleased to see the fund launch. It has enormous potential for the future of the UK games industry,' claimed the UK Interactive Entertainment Association's chief executive, Jo Twist, of the launch. 'Access to finance has been an on-going challenge for small and micro games businesses, and the financial support of the fund, as well as the mentoring opportunities that are provided, will open doors to a huge amount of unearthed games talent in the UK. UKIE is really proud to continue to support this project. It is one more step towards the UK becoming a world leader in games development.'

Details on how companies can apply for grants under the fund, which is being administered by the UK Games Talent and Finance CIC, are available on the official website.
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