A development programme for product development, digitalization, research methods and commercialization to strengthen craft and design enterprises.
The Building a Craft and Design Enterprise training programme (BCDE) has been developed in partnership between The Design and Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) and Local Enterprise Offices (LEO’S) nationally. The programme is delivered by a range of highly respected experts who have an extensive and current practical knowledge of the creative sector. The course content provides participants with the required skills to operate and develop their business in the current changing market place. By bringing Business planning and acumen to craft and design enterprises, through the programme all areas of product and business development are addressed. Objectives are achieved through pertinent workshops and mentoring to enable them to effectively trade on a global basis. Results have been increased market share, expanded markets and work in an increased number of collections. The participating practitioners, the DCCI and the LEOs are the main stakeholders.
The course focuses on the following areas:
-Product review, current and future development
-Bringing new product to market
-Design trends
-Current routes to market for design led work
-How to keep a creative business visible
-Developing a marketing strategy suitable for creative businesses
-Recognising and responding to opportunities at home and overseas
-Recognising problems and developing solutions
-Pricing and costing your work
-Sharing the workload
-Business and time management practices for SMEs.

Resources needed

This is a very cost effective programme – 30,000 euros or 2,000 per enterprise.

Evidence of success

Graduates of the course were exhibiting at international shows and increased market share, by launching new product ranges and processes. Many successful graduates producing batch production work and high end collectable work and utilizing international markets include:
Bareessentials – Artisan soaps
Northcote Designs – Prints
Knut Klimmek - Furniture
Ail and El - Handcast concrete homewares
Isabel Egan – Gallery collectable ceramics

Difficulties encountered

Participant time commitment to keep up with implementing new product design and production, and service new markets.

Potential for learning or transfer

This uniquely tailored pragmatic programme is full of excellent examples for learning transfer particularly in the areas of product development and intense market research expert mentoring and workshops. It has excellent scope for participants and trainers to share their learning with others but also with other regions.
Considering the cost-effectiveness of the programme, it can be implemented anywhere where there is a need and willingness to support SMEs with uniquely tailored expert advice and support for their business, like crafts and design in this programme.

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Main institution
Design & Crafts Council Ireland
Southern and Eastern,
Start Date
July 2013
End Date


Nikola Tomic Please login to contact the author.