U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 and Motion Content Group (part of GroupM, WPP’s media investment group) have launched a multi-million pound fund to boost commissions from small and medium sized ethnically diverse-led production companies.

The Channel 4 and Motion Content Group Diverse Indies Fund will be editorially overseen by Channel 4 senior commissioning Editor Vivienne Molokwu and for Motion Content Group, the fund will be managed by head of diversity, equity and inclusion, Deep Sehgal.

The fund is designed to back and bring to life ideas from creative leaders who are from diverse ethnic groups and these ideas need to be “creatively exciting, entertaining and returnable,” Channel 4 and Motion Content Group said in a statement.

In 2021, Channel 4 pledged to tripling its spend with ethnically diverse-led indies by the end of 2023, and committed that every commissioning editor would have at least one ethnically diverse-led indie on their development slate as part of its Black to Front project.

A creative brief is live now on 4Producers and eligible indies will be encouraged to pitch ideas via commissioning editors and heads of department, with commissioning rounds spread throughout the year.

The Channel 4 creative diversity team, headed by Naomi Sesay, will be available to support production companies.

Molokwu said: “At Channel 4 we recognise that spend is what makes the difference to indies and if we want to meaningfully diversify our suppliers, we have to supercharge increasing the hours commissioned with ethnically diverse-led indies. Although we already work closely with a number of eligible indies and have already become the first broadcaster to ring-fence commissioning spend for ethnically diverse-led indies, by working with Motion Content Group we increase the opportunity for returnable, commercial formats further reflecting our genuine commitment made as part of the Black to Front Project to significant, lasting change.”

Sehgal said: “Our aim is to help create a sustainable pipeline of diverse production talent – and we’re bringing that to life with substantial, long-term investment. Motion continues to work with some of the most successful independent producers in the country, and we are passionate about lending that expertise to enabling and supporting more diverse voices.”