Design Council launch £300k Spark fund for product design

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With a £300k pot, the new Design Council Spark fund and accelerator is looking for UK-based candidates

The Design Council has launched its own product design investment fund and accelerator for individuals and teams with revolutionary product ideas.

Open to anyone over 18 and based in the UK with a brilliant product idea that they want to bring to market, the programme welcomes early stage ideas as well as working prototypes.

Refreshingly, the product prototype or idea should be primarily physical rather than digital, and will be judged against the following criteria:
– Need and market – Does it meet a clear and compelling user or market need?
– Technical feasibility – Can it be developed to at least a working prototype within 20 weeks?
– Business viability – Does the idea show strong promise for how it will generate financial value?


Design Council Spark: Meet product inventor Duncan Fitzsimons from Design Council on Vimeo.


30 applications will be shortlisted from the online submissions, with each application requiring at least one person to attend a two day workshop for the final selection decision before ten individuals/teams are selected for the accelerator programme.

Within the accelerator programme the ten teams/individuals selected will all receive £15,000 investment, a bespoke programme of support, access to prototyping facilities and materials, advice on pitching and investment readiness support.

The ten teams will take part in Demo Day, at the end of the this three products will receive £50,000 follow on investment from Spark, while other investors and those who can support products in their next phase will be invited to hear the pitches.

The deadline for applications is 31 January 2015, with the 30 successful applicants announced at the end of February winning a place at the two day workshop to choose the final 15.

In its launch statement, the Design Council states: “Although other funds and accelerators exist to support technology products, there is currently little support for physical products. Design Council Spark is helping to fill this gap.

“Our programme is unique – it is not for profit. Participants donate 5 per cent of future sales revenue back into the fund, fuelling a movement of revolutionary products for the UK and beyond.”

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