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Irish Business Design Challenge 2021 is open for entries

Posted 30.09.2021
Press Releases

Ireland’s prestigious competition for design in business returns for a second year with a prize fund of over 50,000 euros

Public asked to vote for their favourite entries from end of October

29 September 2021: First launched in 2020, the Irish Business Design Challenge acts as a beacon for supporting companies applying clever design solutions to meet their customer’s needs.  The competition is now open for entries from micro, small and medium Irish businesses (MSME’s). We are looking for companies that recognise and incorporate the value of design into their business development.

The competition, which is run by Design & Crafts Council Ireland in partnership with Enterprise Ireland, the Local Enterprise Offices and supported by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment showcases the ‘business heroes’ in the MSME sector. Through the telling and sharing of these success stories, IBDC also aims to demonstrate the crucial role design plays in our economy and society.

As part of the challenge, the competition will be accepting entries in three business categories: micro (1 – 10 employees), small (11 – 50 employees) and medium sized (51 – 250 employees). The total prize fund is over €50,000, with a €15,000 first prize for the winner of each category and €2,000 for the runner-up in each category.

Launching the competition, Rosemary Steen, Chief Executive, Design & Crafts Council Irelandsaid: “I am delighted to announce the launch of the Irish Business Design Challenge 2021 today. Last year’s competition highlighted the resilience, creativity, and awareness of Ireland’s MSMEs. Design in its essence is about creativity in all its forms, from problem-solving to joy-inducing. By bringing together the three leading agencies in this space Design & Crafts Council Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, and the Local Enterprise Offices we hope to get the standout examples of Irish design practise. I would strongly encourage any business who has applied design to deliver new breakthrough innovations to enter this year.”

Daryl Regan, Programme Manager, Client Management Development at Enterprise Ireland said: “The value of effective creativity and design-led thinking became especially clear over the last 18 months as businesses were forced to solve complex problems and adapt quickly in response to rapid change and uncertainty. The Irish Business Design Challenge is a great opportunity to showcase the ingenuity and resilience of Irish businesses and celebrate the positive impact they have had across all sectors.”

Breda Fox, Head of Craft & Design, Local Enterprise Offices, said; “Innovative design and evolving your products and offerings is an essential part of any business, big or small. During the past 18 months businesses have had to innovate, in many cases just to keep the doors open. This challenge recognises those businesses who have integrated this process of putting the client/customer at the centre of all decision making to create meaningful outcomes.  We want to hear from those businesses who continue to implement new design or customer solutions that will positively help them going forward.”      

Entries in 2020 spanned sectors from bio science to retail to design to tourism, showing true ingenuity in using design. Winner of the Micro Business Category in 2020, Home by Notions quickly developed flat-pack desks that could be assembled in 30 seconds, while Nufields, runners-up in the category, condensed their commercial scale growing techniques into a compact window-sill sized kit for consumers.

The strongest entries demonstrate how they have created meaningful and innovative solutions from the perspective of the customer. Applications will be accepted over the coming weeks and the public will then be invited to vote for their favourite entries. The businesses that receive the most public votes will be shortlisted and an expert panel of judges will evaluate and select the overall winners. They will be announced at an Awards ceremony at the start of December 2021.

For further information on the Irish Business Design Challenge or to apply for the competition please visit

Image: Pictured at the launch of the Irish Business Design Challenge is Charlotte Barker, CEO, Institute of Designers in Ireland and IBDC 2021 Judge; Daryl Regan, Programme Manager, Client Management Development at Enterprise Ireland and IBDC 2021 Judge; Cadhla O’Reilly, Model; Anna Daly, Business owner, Broadcaster and IBDC 2021 Ambassador; Jamie Maguire, Notions Creative, Winner of the IBDC Micro Business Category in 2020; Rosemary Steen, CEO, Design & Crafts Council Ireland; Breda Fox, Head of Craft & Design, Local Enterprise Offices and IBDC 2021 Judge; and Denis Manzke, Nufields, Runner-Up in the IBDC Micro Business Category in 2020.


For further information, please contact [email protected]