Design in Action is a Knowledge Exchange Hub that encompassed design, academia and industry. Our Chiasma programme and DiA / Dare to be Digital Prizes for Commercial Potential resulted in us providing grant-funding to 17 existing or start-up companies, eight of which launching during the project’s lifespan with many more in various stages of the commercialisation process.

However, these companies did not get to market (or close to market) with financial backing alone. Design in Action also had a variety of support mechanisms in place to assist our business portfolio in maximising their commercial potential.

These included: –

  • IP and contract advice;
  • SFC Innovation Vouchers;
  • Identifying and supporting further funding opportunities;
  • Networking;
  • Connections with potential investors;
  • Business masterclasses and workshops;
  • Marketing & PR support;
  • Events assistance

Not only that, but we worked with a variety of other knowledge exchange, business support and design agencies to ensure that our funded companies and other members of the DiA network had access to the help and expertise they needed, when they needed it. Whether it was a micro-enterprise looking to embed a designer in their operations or design collective needing business or contract advice, Design in Action connected the commercial and creative to form companies, create jobs and innovate the UK economy.

Examples of some of our funded companies, as well as the DiA business support they utilised, can be found below:

Beer 52

A monthly craft-beer subscription service that delivers tasty, often-exclusive, beer from Scottish microbreweries to over 10,000 members.

DiA supported founder and CEO James Brown with:

  • IP and contract support;
  • Promotional opportunities and materials;
  • Networking;
  • Marketing and PR support.

‘In 2013, Design in action changed the course of my life. We became a million-pound business in three months. Being part of Chiasma has allowed me to appreciate that design principles are a must-have for companies that to continue to grow.’


Gaelic for ‘little lamb’, UAN produces natural lightweight woollen pillows, cushions and duvets, made from 100% Scottish lamb’s wool. Wool has been associated with maintaining regular temperatures and can ease the symptoms of allergy and asthma sufferers.

DiA provided the following support:

  • Designers to assist with the strategic development of the product and brand;
  • SFC Innovation Voucher worth £5k;
  • Marketing and Press support;
  • Promotional opportunities and materials;
  • Events assistance

‘This will change my life. And DiA has made that change happen much faster.’