Investment fund opens to accelerate the design of innovative accessible home products for disabled people
Now in its fifth year, Design Council Spark is putting a new focus on driving home innovation with the Design Council Spark: The Home Innovation Challenge, which aims to deliver major impact both financially and socially.
The home should be a joy to live in, yet for many it can be a chore, notes Design Council Spark.
In the UK there are 14 million people living with a disability, and a quarter of the population are forecast to be over the age of 65 by 2046. Design Council Spark showcases how innovative design is fundamental to futureproofing people’s ability to live independently and enabling bright ideas to transform the future home for everyone.
Research from the Global Economics of Disability shows that disabled people, along with their carers and families, wield a global spending power of $8 trillion. Additionally, people aged 65 or over are estimated to increase their spending power to $15 trillion by 2020, notes the Global Coalition on Aging.
Design Council Spark aims to support groundbreaking, commercially viable ideas which can support economic growth in the UK and transform the lives of disabled people.
Each finalist from the 16-week programme will receive £15,000 to support the development of their product concept, as well as the chance to pitch to an investment panel for a share of up to £150,000 to fast track their product concept to market.
Sarah Weir OBE, Chief Executive of Design Council, said: “We’re incredibly proud of our Spark programme. Since we started in 2014 it has helped more than 100 innovators and entrepreneurs to develop their product ideas. With this year’s focus being on an issue very close to many of our hearts, it presents a great opportunity to change lives, break new ground, build businesses and grow the UK economy.”
The categories for entry cover products from daily household tasks to transforming the experience of getting around:
- Getting up/going to bed
- Washing and bathing
- Getting dressed
- Cooking and eating
- Answering the door
The call for applications to Design Council Spark: The Home Innovation Challenge is now open.
Design Council Spark is a leading UK product innovation support programme and investment fund designed to help you people bright ideas into commercially successful products that improve lives.
Since its creation in 2014, Design Council Spark has helped more than 100 innovators and entrepreneurs to develop their product ideas, 45 of these have been intensively supported with mentoring, funding and specialist input to help them progress to market.