DTI backs UK design drive at US trade show

Up to 20 UK design consultancies are being sought to exhibit at a US trade show with the UK Government paying half the costs. It is the first mission part-funded by the Department of Trade and Industry’s North America Now export campaign.

Jointly organised with the Design Business Association, this will be the first of a series of outward missions backed financially by the DTI. If this project is judged commercially successful, the DTI “will put more and more effort behind design initiatives”, says DBA director Chris Thompson.

Thompson is appealing to designers to “step up to the mark and make this work”.

The DTI will pay approximately half the costs for ten to 20 representatives of UK consultancies to attend Comdex, a consumer electronics show to be held in Las Vegas in November. After the DTI contribution, it will cost around 1500 for each consultancy representative. The trip will be co-ordinated by the DBA but not strictly limited to DBA members.

The selection process is not yet determined, but Thompson says the cost may put off some contenders: “It’s a lot of money from the marketing budget of the

smaller consultancies.

“If there is too much demand we may have to take names out of a hat,” says Thompson. The DBA has produced a questionnaire for potential consultancies, “for senior management to determine their readiness to export”, he adds.

The aim of the Comdex stand – for which a designer has not yet been chosen – “is to bring British designers into face-to-face contact with possible clients and strategic alliance partners”, says Alex Pratt, export promoter for industrial design at the DTI.

North America Now is running a Question Time seminar to be held at Scottish Design in Glasgow on 27 July. The event will work to the same format as the previous seminar which took place in London (DW 10 March).

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