John Mathers

British Design Fund


Startup //
How the British Design Fund could help your product to market

Deciding how best to finance your product start-up business is getting increasingly complicated. As alternative forms of funding are becoming available, start-ups have many more options available to them than they did 10 years ago. But the myriad of product innovation grants, benevolent funds, awards and crowdfunding platforms for early-stage product companies can leave some founders feeling overwhelmed when it comes to deciding how to spend their time and limited budgets when raising that all-important seed money to help launch their product idea. John Mathers, director of the new British Design Fund, sets out why the fund was set up and who it can help.

John has been working for almost forty years in the brand and design industry, leading a number of marketing, brand and design consultancies in the UK and Internationally, as well as holding a number of roles within FMCG and retail, including Head of Brand at Safeway.

Most recently he has led the UK Design Council through a period of change and has retired from that role after four years as CEO. He joined the Design Council from an International CEO role at the Holmes & Marchant group and previously had ten years at the helm of the Brand Union (was Enterprise IG), WPP’s flagship brand design agency.

Over the last fifteen years he has been actively committed to the development of the design industry, serving as President of the DBA (Design Business Association) for three years as well as being involved in various ways with the Design Council and the broader design community.

His ongoing commitments include a Governor’s role at Falmouth University as well as being a Board member on various charities and sitting on a number of Advisory Boards.

John is currently Vice-President of BEDA, The Bureau of European Design Associations and ha, mostly recently, helped to launch an innovative new fund – the British Design Fund – aiming to support and help start-up British product and design innovation.