Businesses supported by Design Council over a ten year period survive longer and grow faster than average UK businesses, according to independent research.

91% of businesses supported by Design Council between 2002 and 2014 were still trading after 5 years, compared to 49% who had no design support.

The research independently conducted by the Enterprise Research Centre for Design Council found that over the long term, small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) supported by Design Council grew by around 40% between 2005 and 2015, more than double that of those who had no design support.

Businesses that received support from Design Council were enrolled onto its ‘Designing Demand’ programme which supported more than 5,000 businesses within this period. Businesses engaged in one of more of the following support programmes:

  • The ‘Innovate’ programme was a science and technology-driven start up programme, supporting ventures to use design to attract funding, reduce risk, develop their business model and get to market faster. These ventures were not yet generating income, but had investment funding at the time of our support.
  • The ‘Generate’ programme offered support to small and medium sized businesses with growth potential to make design a long-term part of the business by developing new skills, ranging from choosing and briefing designers to managing the design process. This programme attracted both manufacturing and service-based businesses at the smaller end of the SME market.
  • The Immerse’ programme intended to help companies build bigger profits through the implementation of design-led strategies. Immerse was the most intensive service aimed at more mature businesses who were hungry for growth, had an appetite for new ideas and the willingness to invest in realising them. This programme attracted established manufacturing firms with a turnover greater than £15million.

Across all the programmes, design associates, worked with business leaders to build support, knowledge and confidence in using design methods. One of the models businesses were introduced to was the Double Diamond – Design Council’s globally acknowledged innovation process, helping thousands of organisations confront challenges and find new solutions.

The research concludes that Design Council’s support played a key role in survival and growth of the businesses enrolled on our Designing Demand programme. Even after accounting for wider government support programmes accessed by participating businesses, 85% of those supported by Design Council survived compared to 48% who were not supported.

To find out more about how our programmes can help your organisation, take a look at our Design Training and Education section. We run design training for educational instutions and public sector bodies, and design bespoke programmes for businesses.

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Read the full report into the impact of Design Council design support on small & medium businesses.

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