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Local MP backs good design giving Kent companies the edge

15 April 2009

SEEDA has expanded Designing Demand to help over 150 business owners to improve their company’s prospects through design. Derek Wyatt MP will visit the Kent Research Park on 17 April to meet some of the companies which will be considered for intensive design support.

MP for Sittingbourne & Sheppey and a member of the Parliamentary Design Group, Derek Wyatt explained: "Good design is quickly fundamental to all businesses. Often people are put off by costs, but investment in good design reaps benefits. Strong design can help prospective customers understand your company and why they should buy from you, differentiate your company in the market place, increase product and service innovation, and expand your local/international markets."

According to a Government Report - half of export sales made by winners of the ‘Queens Award for Exports’ could be attributed to their investment in design.

Designing Demand (DD), one of 30 national public business support programmes, has been developed by the Design Council. It provides small and medium sized firms with strategic design mentoring advice to improve their profitability, market penetration and innovation levels.

SEEDA is funding over 150 places over 18 months on two mentoring schemes: DD Generate – for SMEs operational for 3+ years and DD Immerse a more intense programme for larger SMEs. SEEDA is also considering investing in DD Innovate which targets technology start-ups.

Robin Gillum-Webb, SEEDA Manager for Design, added: "SEEDA is delighted by the excellent response from Sittingbourne businesses to the twenty first Designing Demand workshop held in the SE. Businesses in the current economic downturn are increasingly recognising the importance of getting the best design into their products and services. Designing Demand provides businesses with Design Council approved designers to directly help them develop cost effective design strategies that will help them gain competitive advantage."

DD has already helped a number of companies in the South East since it was piloted by SEEDA in 2006, including:

  • 400 SMEs and high growth technology companies have attended strategic design workshops
  • 72 companies have participated in the Innovate (4) and Generate (68) programmes improving their subsequent sales, profits and distribution
  • 155 business advisory and design agencies attended workshops to help them consider how to help SMEs better understand the commercial benefits of design

Companies completing the South East Generate programme spent an average of £11k on design projects, 450% more than the UK average.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Tanya Reed, Media Relations Manager, SEEDA
Tel: 01483 484 200
Email: pressoffice@seeda.co.uk

Robin Gillum-Webb, Sector Group Manager, SEEDA
Tel: 01483 484 229
Email: robingillumwebb@seeda.co.uk

View the full news release.

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