Nordic Design Impact is project developing the competences of small and medium-sized design businesses. Part of the project is a mentoring programme, where the design companies helps small design companies to grow and find their way to international markets working alongside established companies. The Finnish leg of the program got off to a joyous start as the first mentor and mentee pairs met at the project launch in Helsinki at the end of March
The two founders of the textile and clothing company Saana ja Olli were present at the launch as well as their mentor Paula Bello, a designer for Kone. The designer couple Saana Sipilä and Olli Sallinen’s company produces their own hemp textile collection made in Finland. Bello will also be mentoring the fashion designer Anniina Nurmi later this spring. Nurmi runs her own eco-friendly label Nurmi.
In addition to KONE, other Finnish companies that are involved in the program are Suunto and Kekkilä. Antti Kujala, Head of Design at Suunto, has also already had his first mentoring meetings with the Swedish company Neobrand Design, while Kekkilä has started mentoring the Finnish design agency Rune&Berg.
The application phase for the program, held earlier this year, managed to attract a lot of interest in Finland. 11 applications from small and medium-sized design companies were received, three of which were selected to join the recently commenced pilot project. There are three or four mentor companies from each Nordic country in this project and an equal number of mentees.
Nordic aesthetics, sustainability and online design visibility
Nordic Design Impact encourages large companies to support small design businesses in areas such as marketing and entering international markets. All participating companies are dedicated to the three project dimensions: Nordic aesthetics, sustainability and online design visibility.
Project Manager Petra Ilonen, responsible for the NDI project in The Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo, states: ”By taking part in the project, the larger companies can demonstrate that they are pioneers in developing entrepreneurship within Nordic design, and they can find new insight into their own business as well.”
The new project will open channels for diverse interaction opportunities between large and small design companies. Meetings to be held during the spring will provide the basis for the model of Nordic mentoring operations, and the expectation is that this model will become established in the design sector. In Finland the NDI project is organized by Ornamo and Grafia.
PHOTO: Paula Bello from KONE and Olli Sallinen and Saana Sipilä from Saana ja Olli.