Call for Applications for new Design4Growth Programme in South East Region

Local Enterprise Offices & Design & Crafts Council of Ireland announce scheme to encourage micro and small enterprises in the South East to use strategic design in developing their business


Design4Growth, a programme to assist micro and small enterprises grow their business through the use of strategic design, is being rolled out to the South East of Ireland. The programme is funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation (DBEI), and led by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) in partnership with the Local Enterprise Offices (LEO) in the South-East Region: Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford.


Design4Growth aims to support micro and small enterprises to grow through the strategic use of design and involves a panel of design strategists working with participating companies to identify ways in which design can improve their business. The programme offers over €10,000 in design and business supports.


Rita Guinan, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Tipperary said: “The Design4Growth programme is providing a unique opportunity for companies in the South East Region. It will provide enterprises with an invaluable opportunity to engage with experienced design strategists whose insight and advice will be instrumental in the development of their business.  We would encourage any businesses in the south east region who feels this programme would be beneficial to them to get involved and see the difference strategic design insight and advice can make.  We look forward to seeing these micro and small enterprises evolve and grow as a result of their participation in the programme and to supporting their continued development into the future.”


Welcoming the programme, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, T.D., said: “Design is an integral part of the innovation agenda and this programme will be instrumental in increasing the number of micro and small businesses in the South East using design as a strategic enabler in their business development. I very much welcome this collaboration between the Design & Crafts Council and the LEOs in the South East. This Government is confident that supporting emerging Irish companies under the programme will maximise opportunities for success and create additional job opportunities in the region.”


Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI), said: “Working in partnership with other agencies in promoting the early adoption of design is central to DCCoI’s strategy. We are delighted to be leading the delivery of this innovative programme in collaboration with the network of Local Enterprise Offices. Design4Growth assists participating businesses in identifying practical ways in which design can enhance their product or service, boosting their potential to expand and successfully compete in international markets.”


The Design4Growth initiative was initially piloted in Dublin in 2015 as part of Irish Design 2015 by Dublin City Local Enterprise Office (LEO) and Dublin City Council. Following the success of the pilot scheme in Dublin, the 2018 programme will focus on businesses in the South East region.


Through Design4Growth, 60 businesses in the South East will have the opportunity to attend information sessions that will provide an overview of the strategic value of design in business.   Following the session, up to 20 of these companies will be invited to work with a design advisor to undertake a design audit. The design audit will help to identify core business challenges that a strategic design approach could resolve.


Ten businesses will then be chosen to undertake a series of workshops and one-to-one sessions working directly with a design strategist. Design4Growth provides the opportunity to understand how and where design can deliver tangible value. Workshops will inspire companies to develop products and services and to identify ways to improve customer experience.


Design4Growth will provide participating companies with a process that will show them:

  • how to identify and validate new product and service development
  • how to identify where they can improve functionality and customer experience
  • where they can apply design elements around branding, communication and corporate identity
  • how to identify cost-saving activities to deliver better and new outcomes for their customers


Companies based in the South East region which have three or more employees and would like the opportunity to be part of the Design4Growth initiative are invited to attend one of two free information sessions. These will take place on Thursday 12th April 2018 in Carlow and Waterford. The sessions will demonstrate how the latest design techniques can be used to positively impact on business performance and will illustrate how design can play an integral role in the innovation process across all stages of goods and service development and in strategic management techniques and processes.


To find out more about Design4Growth, companies can register to attend one of the free information sessions using the links below:



This announcement follows Local Enterprise Week 2018 (4th – 9th March) which saw over 300 events take place across the country to increase awareness of the range of supports and services available to microenterprises from the 31 Local Enterprise Offices in every county.


Design4Growth aims to incentivise microbusinesses to engage with designers and assist participating companies in applying the effective use of design in developing their businesses. The programme is delivered on behalf of the Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation, the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and the South East Local Enterprise Offices by Targeting Innovation and Sean McNulty, Founder of Dolmen Design.


Stages in the Design4Growth scheme for the South East region:


Stage 1:           

Up to 60 interested businesses will be invited to attend one of two information sessions on 12th April 2018. These information sessions are aimed at  providing companies with further information on the Design4Growth programme, as well as an overview of the strategic value of design in business development.


Stage 2:           

Up to 20 businesses can avail of a design audit that includes a review by a design strategist with feedback and recommendations on ways in which design could assist with their development.


Stage 3:           

All businesses who complete the design audit will be invited to attend the Design4Growth masterclass on 2nd May 2018. This masterclass will provide the participants with a best practice toolkit for applying design within their businesses.


Stage 4:           

10 businesses can work with a design strategist to develop a brief for implementing the recommended approach and commissioning the necessary design services.


Stage 5:           

The 10 businesses can apply for design vouchers to a maximum value of €2,500 for design services to implement the brief developed in Stage 3 and receive ongoing advice during this stage from the design strategist.