Skip to content

OPEN CALL: Design Council Spark - Opportunity for creative people with bright product ideas

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

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

'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 Tyrell, Design Council Chairman

Over the course of our 16-week programme, we will 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 will receive a lifelong membership to the Design Council Spark alumni network and access to the Design Council's extensive community.  

Applications are now open. The deadline is 10 January 2017. 

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


Product ideas for Arthritis 

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 has the proven potential to assist those with the condition. 

A Bright Idea

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


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

Make the Shortlist

We will 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 will help you refine and pitch your idea for a place on the Spark commercialisation programme.

Design Camp runs on 6 & 7 March 2017.

Become a finalist

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

The programme commences on 4 April 2017.

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.

Pitch days take place on the 25 & 26 July 2017.

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 will join the Spark alumni community with access to and support from the Design Council’s world-class network. 

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.  

Feature — 25/10/2016 

Mentors and Specialists

In addition to regular advice from the Spark team, finalists will also be 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.  

To get a good idea of the type and calibre of mentors and specialists that you will be matched with this year, meet the mentors and specialists who guided our 2016 finalists.