Programmes like Spark matter, as the gap between idea and reality is hard to bridge.

Sarah Thelwall, Strategist and Consultant in the Creative Industries

Overview

Design Council Spark is a support and funding programme designed to help you turn your bright idea into a commercially successful product.

Over the course of our 16-week programme, we provide up to 15 finalists with specialist expertise and one-to-one mentoring. Once accepted onto the programme you will receive an initial sum of £15,000 to help you develop your product as well as a chance to pitch for a further share of £200,000. Beyond the programme you receive a lifelong membership to the Design Council Spark alumni network and access to the Design Council's extensive community.

Register your interest

Register your interest to receive news and be the first to hear about the next application date.

Register

What we look for

Design Council Spark is looks to turn bright ideas into brilliant products that address a need in the following areas: 

How it works

The Spark Journey

A Bright Idea.  

We look for bright product ideas that are at a sketch, prototype or planning stage. 

Apply.

Tell us more about you, your idea and your plans for it.

Make the Shortlist.

We notify you if you have been selected for Design Camp. Unsuccessful applicants will be signposted to other relevant programmes to progress your idea.

Attend Design Camp.

An intensive 2-day workshop where we help you refine and pitch your idea for a place on the Spark commercialisation programme.

Become a finalist.

Up to 15 ideas are selected for our 16-week support programme.

Join the Support Programme.

Develop your idea and business plan through our specialist expertise and bespoke one-to-one mentoring, plus an initial grant of £15,000 for product development.

Pitch for the Spark Award.

On completion of the programme, all finalists will have a chance to pitch to the Design Council investment panel for further funding.

Brightest Sparks announced.

Up to five products will be awarded a share of £200,000.

Make a Difference.

On completion of the programme, all finalists join the Spark alumni community with access to and support from the Design Council’s world-class network. 

Design Council Spark discovers some of the UK's brilliant product ideas and provides the connections, support and funding to bring them to life.

Terry Tyrrell, Design Council Chairman

How you contribute to Spark

Design Council Spark is unique in that we do not ask for any equity. In exchange for the support provided, participants give a small percentage of their product’s sales to the fund to support more ideas in the future. Successful Design Council Spark applicants benefit from those who have gone before them and enable the same for others who follow.

Find out more

For more information about the programme, contracts, IP, funding, benefits and more, please read our detailed FAQs.  

Meet the Spark inventors 2016 They're improving the way insulin is injected, changing the way we BBQ, and helping babies to sleep – meet the Spark finalists 2016. They're improving the way insulin is injected, changing the way we BBQ, and helping babies to sleep – meet the Spark finalists 2016.

Feature — 24/05/2016

Mentors and Specialists

In addition to regular advice from the Spark team, finalists are matched with a mentor who will guide you through the programme and provide you with one-to-one mentoring and offer insights, contacts and knowledge to help you progress in the greatest way that you can.

Advice & news

Growth: Creating a sustainable design concept for the mass market We spoke to Bike and Begun to discuss how Spark helped them to turn Growth into something that could be mass-produced, while still staying true to its sustainable nature. How Spark helped turn Growth into something that could be mass-produced, while still staying true to its sustainable nature.

Feature — 01/06/2017

Why designing for Arthritis makes commercial sense The Spark Arthritis Research UK challenge represents not only a huge market, but an opportunity to design with empathy. The Spark Arthritis Research UK challenge represents not only a huge market, but an opportunity to design with empathy.

Feature — 16/12/2016

What does it take to become a Spark product innovator? Design Council is searching for stand-out product ideas for the 2017 Spark programme. Find out what it take to become a Spark finalist. Design Council is searching for stand-out product ideas for the 2017 Spark programme. Find out what it take to become a Spark finalist.

Feature — 01/12/2016

Rockit: On landing a market success The story of the scientist, the teacher and the fireman who turned sleepless nights into a brilliant commercial opportunity. The story of the scientist, the teacher and the fireman who turned sleepless nights into a brilliant commercial opportunity.

Feature — 17/11/2016

Spark 2016 awardees announced! A share of up to £200,000 has been awarded to four Design Council Spark 2016 finalists A share of up to £200,000 has been awarded to four Design Council Spark 2016 finalists

News — 20/09/2016