A new Design Council initiative takes design to where small and medium businesses are, and helps them access mentoring in how to use design to survive, thrive and grow. The road show will travel the UK to encourage businesses to use design to improve sales, protect jobs and compete in the tough economic climate.
The events - starting next week in Nottingham and continuing around the country during February and March, will bring together design experts and business mentors with small and medium sized manufacturing firms to show them that, in spite of current testing economic times, now is the time to take up the subsidised opportunities currently on offer to access mentoring in how to use design to become more innovative, and compete more effectively.
One such opportunity, the Design Council's business mentoring programme, Designing Demand, is a mentoring service that works with SMEs in a highly practical way to develop a design-led project with the power to transform their business. A programme that has mentored over 650 SMEs in recent years, can point to a recent independent evaluation that showed that businesses can expect, typically, over £25 return on investment for every pound invested in design. The initiative is supported by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), which provides a 50% subsidy towards the cost to businesses wishing to join the programme.
"It is undoubtedly a challenging time for businesses, however now is the right time to invest in identifying new routes for growth," said Ellie Runcie, Director of Design Innovation Services at the Design Council. "Over the years we have seen hundreds of business owners move from being healthy sceptics to strong advocates of design, making it an integral part of their operations and using it as a critical tool for innovation. Design has been helping hundreds of businesses around the UK to diversify their products and services, strengthen their position in existing markets as well as open up new markets. This investment has been delivering results, with a potential return on investment of more than £25 for every £1 a business spends on design."