Skip to content


Posted 22.01.2024
Press Releases

  • Programme supports SMEs with international export potential
  • 2022 CSO figures show €38 billion of goods exported by over 11,300 SMEs
  • Craft and design sector contributed €4.5 billion to the Irish economy in 2022

Monday, 22nd January, 2024: Today, Design & Crafts Council Ireland officially launched The Accelerator Programme in partnership with Portal, Trinity College Dublin at Showcase – Ireland’s International Creative Expo® in the RDS, Dublin. The Accelerator Programme is designed to aid craft and design SMEs with international export potential, offering valuable startup support. The programme will be delivered in two stages between March and December 2024, with 20 companies shortlisted for a place on the course.


The craft and design sector significantly contributes to the growth and global recognition of both the Irish domestic economy and the Irish export economy, A 2022 report from Grant Thornton found that Irish craft and design companies saw a total turnover of €10.3bn, up 115% since the post-crash low of 2012, while the sector contributed €4.5bn to the Irish economy in gross value added in 2022, up from under €3.4bn in 2021. It is the 10th largest employment sector in Ireland with almost 60,000 people directly employed, which is a 10% growth year-on-year. In December 2023, a Central Statistics Office (CSO) publication showed that in 2022, more than *11,300 SMEs exported upwards of €38 billion worth of goods internationally, with micro enterprises exporting over €10 billion of goods. The Accelerator Programme will provide support to SMEs with strong international export potential across areas including growth, development, international market launches, customer engagement, acquisition, and marketing and sales.


Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, said: “We recognise the exceptional talent and innovation that thrive within our craft and design SMEs. Today marks a significant leap forward, with the launch of The Accelerator programme that will amplify their international export potential. This initiative is not just about financial investment, it’s about providing a robust support system, which encompasses mentorship and networking opportunities to turn local creativity into global success. By providing the right tools to these craftspeople and entrepreneurs, we are not only strengthening our economy, but advocating for Irish craftsmanship on the world stage.”


Rosemary Steen, CEO of Design & Crafts Council Ireland said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Portal at Trinity on such a timely and relevant programme. The accelerator programme, designed and delivered with the expertise of Trinity, caters to the design and craft sector – the 10th largest employment sector in Ireland we are very excited about its potential.


The programme will help support, nurture and mentor DCCI clients on the journey to become international exporters. We take great pride in championing innovative craft and design businesses in Ireland. The Accelerator Programme provides us with a fantastic opportunity to reach craft and design businesses in their start-up phase. It will also encourage entrepreneurship from the outset as it builds opportunities, skills and advice to help them grow, launch and showcase their products on an international stage.


This programme builds on the successful education training programmes delivered by Trinity at DCCI headquarters in Kilkenny in 2022/2023.”


Dr Michelle Olmstead, Trinity College Dublin, CIEO said: “Trinity is at the forefront of promoting Entrepreneurship as an engine for economic growth and for social and cultural development. We are delighted to partner with DCCI and their clients to accelerate growth and development internationally.”


For more information, please contact Eimear Harding, Communications and Public Affairs Manager, DCCI, 083 023 8743 or email [email protected]


For further press information please contact Emma Kelly at Elevate PR, 01 662 5652 or email [email protected].


About Design & Crafts Council Ireland

Design & Crafts Council Ireland is the national agency for craft and design in Ireland, we support designers and makers to develop their businesses in a sustainable way, and advocate for the societal benefits of craft and design. DCCI’s activities are funded by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment via Enterprise Ireland. DCCI currently has 64 member organisations and over 3,500 registered clients. / @dccireland


About Portal at Trinity

Portal is Trinity College Dublin’s gateway to connect with our world-renowned researchers and academics, our enterprising students, and our campus companies. We help meet the challenges of the future through research collaborations, licensing opportunities, professional consulting, education, executive training and entrepreneurship programmes.




About The Accelerator Programme

The programme is being delivered in two stages between March and December 2024, with 10 companies receiving €5,000 during the programme’s first phase, and then a shortlist of five companies receiving another €5,000 in the second phase. Companies looking to take part in The Accelerator Programme can apply now via  Completed application forms submitted by 18th February 2024.will be reviewed by a panel of representatives including members from DCCI, Trinity College Dublin, Enterprise Ireland and Industry Experts.  20 companies will be shortlisted by late February and given the opportunity to pitch for one of ten places on the programme. The programme starts in March with ten companies receiving €5,000 during this phase to develop their proposals. They will also attend workshops which cover growth, development, and international market launches. Five shortlisted companies will then progress onto the second stage following an interview with an industry panel. This stage will focus on commercial and investment proposals, with each company receiving an additional €5,000. This part of the programme will look at customer engagement, acquisition, marketing and sales. During this phase, each company involved will receive individual coaching and mentoring, which will focus on sustainability of design and manufacturing, best practice, business policies, etc. The Accelerator Programme will finish with a final showcase event hosted by Design & Crafts Council Ireland in December.