Entries are open for Design Council Spark 2017, a support programme and fund designed to help people turn their idea into a commercially successful product.
Entries close for the programme on 10 January, which is in its third year and will provide up to 15 UK-based inventors a place on their 16-week programme providing specialist expertise and bespoke one-to-one mentoring, plus an initial grant of £15,000 for product development.
The Spark programme only deals in physical products, and takes no equity, instead it simply requires participants to give a small percentage of their product’s sales back to the fund to support more ideas in the future.
On completion of the programme, finalists will join the Spark alumni community, allowing access to the Design Council’s extensive network and the chance to pitch for a further share of £200,000.
Since 2014, Design Council Spark has supported over 70 entrepreneurs and inventors in progressing their products to market, including the Mayku Formbox, a desktop vacuum former that enables you to start a production line from your tabletop; Rhinamite, a non-invasive device that stops nose bleeds in their tracks and Ding, the smart doorbell that allows you to talk with the person at your door, wherever you are in the world.
This year Design Council Spark is looking to turn bright ideas into brilliant products within the following areas:
Health and well-being: products that help people live independently
Energy and the environment: products that benefit the environment
Home life: products for the home that improve the way we live
On the move: products for transport that transform the way we move
Sports and leisure: products that encourage an active lifestyle
Something remarkable: for those bright ideas that don’t fit a specific category
In addition to the above categories and following the success of their 2016 partnership, Arthritis Research UK will join Design Council in supporting the 2017 programme.
The charity, which invests in treatments and vital support for everyone affected by arthritis, will be looking for innovative product ideas to further support their work to overcome the pain, isolation and fatigue that arthritis can cause.
One finalist will be awarded up to £50,000 of the £200,000 funding available if their product idea has the proven potential to assist those with the condition.
Ellie Runcie, Design Council’s Director of Growth and Innovation, said: ‘Design Council Spark discovers some of the UK’s brilliant product ideas and provides the connections, support and funding to bring them to life. Following the success of the programme and its participants to date, we are really looking forward to seeing what this call for entries will bring.’