Craft and design play a vital role in driving the Irish economy, contributing to its growth and global recognition. Ireland has a rich heritage of craftsmanship and artistic traditions that have been nurtured and passed down through generations. The country's commitment to promoting and supporting its artisans has created a thriving creative sector, attracting both domestic and international attention. Irish crafts and designs, encompassing a wide range of disciplines such as textiles, ceramics, jewellery, and furniture, are renowned for their quality, innovation, and distinctiveness. They showcase the unique blend of traditional techniques and contemporary aesthetics, reflecting Ireland's cultural identity and artistic prowess. They continue to be a driving force in the country's economic landscape, fuelling innovation, creativity, and economic prosperity.

To harness those creative and entrepreneurial energies further, the Design & Crafts Council  Ireland (DCCI), in collaboration with Portal at Trinity College Dublin, is recruiting for participants on a scale-up support programme aimed at a select number of companies with significant international export potential. 

Closing date for completed applications is the 18th February 2024.

Accelerator Objectives

Structured over two phases, the programme will assist diverse, multi-sectoral entrepreneurs develop viable business models and business plans and then quickly translate those plans into concrete and scalable value propositions. Our shared ambition is to see more Irish companies competing for business on the international stage.

Programme Stage 1: 10 Companies

  • This stage will last for 5 months (March-July 2024) with teams given time to develop their propositions between intense bouts of workshop, peer to peer activity.
  • Each of the ten participating companies will receive €5,000 for this phase.
  • Mentoring will focus on their activities as they relate to growing their business and launch their solutions into international markets.
  • Mentoring will ensure that they are grounded in best practice and informed by policy, supports and business practitioners. This stage will culminate in a mid-programme pitch to identify the best 5 companies for progression to Stage 2.

At the conclusion of this stage, companies will have:

  • A commercialisation roadmap
  • Identified critical commercial beachheads.
  • Perfected the Art of the Pitch
  • Learned How to Sell!
  • Created a credible and re-useable Business Model Canvas
  • Stand over robust financials

Programme Stage 2: 5 Companies

  • This stage will run from September to December 2024 and focus on the hard commercial and investment proposition of the companies involved.
  • Companies selected for Stage 2 will receive an additional €5,000
  • The focus in this stage will be on Customer engagement, acquisition, marketing and sales and the continued development of a robust commercial value proposition with significant international sales potential.
  • Each company will receive up to (5) hours individual coaching per month.
  • As contributors will be sourced internationally in addition to Ireland, support will be provided for remote access to workshops and mentoring sessions.
  • The mentoring will also focus on their activities as it relates to sustainability of design and manufacture to ensure it is grounded in best practice and informed by policy and business practitioners, and where necessary broker introductions.

Building on earlier learnings, Stage 2 companies will be able to:

  • Translate validated business models into initial/multiple transactions with customers/beneficiaries and/or investors.
  • Pursue market entry with core product/service in beachhead markets.
  • Achieve a meaningful number of commercial transactions that validate the core value proposition and/or
  • Attract capital to progress into the next stage in the business development cycle.

When they conclude this stage, companies will have;

  • Full business Deck.
  • Evidence of investor traction
  • Evidence of Up-cross/selling with existing customers
  • Evidence of international sales or interest from international customers
  • Valuation / Exit Strategy

Demo Day

Stage 2 will culminate in December 2024 with a Demo Day - details of which will be announced in the latter part of the year.

Closing date for completed applications is the 18th February 2024.