Design Council today announces Design Council Spark, a new £300,000 innovation fund
and accelerator to discover and propel UK talent in the field of new physical product
This initiative, launched at the Science Museum’s new Information Age gallery, seeks to
energise UK product innovation and to develop revolutionary products that solve problems
which people face in their everyday lives, building on the UK’s rich heritage as a nation of
innovators and inventors.
The fund is open to submissions from anyone based in the UK, with a brilliant product
idea, who wants to develop their work further.
The Design Council Spark investment panel will select a shortlist of 10 products from all
submissions, each to receive an initial £15,000 investment. Those selected will join a 20-
week program of mentoring and support, with access to a network of peers and experts
in manufacturing, prototyping, user testing, business, investment and finance, and retail.
All teams will pitch at the end of the program for the chance to receive one of three
further £50,000 investments.
The move is backed by leading British designers including Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh,
developer of the innovative new consumer silicone glue, sugru; Duncan Fitzsimons,
creator of the world’s first fold up wheel; and wind-up radio inventor Trevor Baylis.
Entrepreneur Dhulchaointigh says: “I’m supporting the Design Council’s new innovation
fund because I believe in the transformative power of good design. A new product or
service which responds to everyday life in an imaginative way makes life easier and even
more importantly, it helps us live richer and more enjoyable lives.”
Mat Hunter, Chief Design Officer of the Design Council, says: “The Design Council is
committed to developing and maintaining the UK’s global reputation for high quality
product innovation. Good design changes people’s lives for the better, it boosts the
country’s economy, and it enables the UK to compete on the global stage in the 21st
Century. We want to ensure that our best, most innovative participants have the money,
resources and networks they need to succeed. Design Council Spark will support product
inventors with targeted advice and support, an injection of funds to get started, and
2 connections to other people at the same stage of product development – which cannot be
Design Council Spark is a not-for-profit initiative, in which a proportion of revenues from
future sales will be used to replenish the fund, which will continue to support new product