London Development Agency
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LDA UNVEILS PIONEERING DESIGN INITIATIVE FOR BUSINESSES IN LONDON

Design in the capital received a major boost with the announcement that the London Development Agency (LDA) will be launching a £3.5 million design support programme in the summer for London’s aspiring small businesses.

The LDA today announced that a consortium of Design London and Grant Thornton UK LLP has won the bid to deliver the pioneering Designing Demand programme and complementary services for businesses in the capital. Design London is a major partnership between the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London. The LDA supports design as driver of business growth and productivity and as an effective way of promoting and improving business performance.

Designing Demand is a national design support programme developed by the Design Council and delivered by regional development agencies. It shows business leaders how design can turn ideas and technologies into profitable products, services and brands.

The London consortium combines Grant Thornton’s business expertise, knowledge of the Small and Medium Size Enterprise market and strong investor networks with Design London’s excellence in design, business and research. Together they will extend Designing Demand to provide design support that will help London’s businesses excel.

The consortium will extend the Design Demand offer to provide design support that will help London’s businesses excel. This will include tailoring their services for business based on their executive development courses and associated facilities such as rapid prototyping and technology labs.
LDA Chief Executive Manny Lewis said:

“London is the heart of the UK’s thriving and world-class design industry. But despite having almost half of the UK’s designers, investment in design amongst small business is surprisingly low. Working with the Design Council, Grant Thornton and Design London have the opportunity to change this and ensure businesses across the capital benefit from intelligent investment in design.”

Nick Leon, Director of Design London, said,

“This partnership puts design led innovation centre stage for small and medium sized businesses, transforming business performance, enhancing skills and contributing to the economic resurgence of key sectors and communities. Design London brings a unique combination of creativity, technological expertise, and business acumen – represented by each of the partners - to the Designing Demand programme.”

Grant Thornton Partner Glenn Stone said:

“With experience developing and administering the successful gateway2investment (g2i) programme in conjunction with the LDA, Grant Thornton is well placed to utilise its connections within London’s business and financial community to expand Designing Demand, developing a best practice design development and support service. We want to see good design recognised as a major driver of successful businesses."

David Kester, Chief Executive of the Design Council, said:

“The arrival of Designing Demand in the capital is a huge boost for ambitious London businesses. Thanks to this partnership, more than 600 SMEs over the next three years will have the chance to follow the example of many others around the country who have proved they can transform their business by putting design at the heart of what they do."

For media enquiries, please contact Robert Beasley at the LDA Media Team on 020 7593 8437; for public enquiries, please call 020 7593 9000; for out of hours media enquiries, please call 07977 439 371.

Notes for editors

1. The London Development Agency is the Regional Development Agency responsible for the sustainable economic development of London. The LDA supports design as driver of business growth and productivity and as an effective way of promoting and improving business performance.

2. Design London was established by lead partner The Royal College of Art with Imperial College London in 2007, supported by £5.8 million backing from funding bodies HEFCE and NESTA. The venture combines creativity and expertise in design from the Royal College of Art, engineering from Imperial College's Faculty of Engineering and the business of innovation from Imperial College's Tanaka Business School. Established following the Cox Review, Design London has four main pillars: creating new teaching programmes, conducting top-level research, incubating new business ideas and pioneering the next generation of innovation technology.

3. Grant Thornton UK LLP is a leading financial and business adviser with 31 offices nationwide. We are the UK member of Grant Thornton International, one of the world's leading organisations of independently owned and managed accounting and consulting firms providing assurance, tax and specialist business advice to privately held businesses and public interest entities. The strength of each local firm is reflected in the quality of the international organisation. All Grant Thornton International member firms share a commitment to providing the same high quality service to their clients wherever they choose to do business.

4. The Design Council is the UK’s national strategic body for design. It aims to strengthen and support the economy and society by demonstrating and promoting the vital role of design in making businesses more competitive and public services more effective. www.designcouncil.org.uk


5. Designing Demand is a national design support programme developed by the Design Council and delivered by regional development agencies. It came as a result of the extensive Cox Review of Creativity in Business, published in December 2005, which emphasised that Britain needed to move beyond low-cost manufacture and up the value chain in order to continue to compete globally. One of the key recommendations was for a national programme that helped SMEs understand how creativity and design can boost innovation.

6. Designing Demand has developed four strands to meet business demands:

- Designing Demand Workshops: fast-paced and practical one-day workshops showing SMEs what design investment could do for them.
- Designing Demand Generate: a support service to help both established businesses and start-ups identify the right design project for their needs and take it forward.
- Designing Demand Innovate: an intensive support service helping early-stage technology ventures use design to commercialise new technology.
- Designing Demand Immerse: an intensive strategic service for mature businesses, helping them embed design to tackle core business issues and make a lasting impact on performance through up to 18 months of direct support.

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