Design for Startups

Bridging the gap between technology and design for improved product development

Partner Co-investment - $185K

Supercluster Co-investment - $289K

Project Budget - $474K

Project Partners

* With funding support from BC Tech and Innovate BC

Project Overview

Design expertise improves the form and function of products, platforms, and services making consumer items and software platforms more usable, aesthetic, and human-centred. Startups face a challenge in connecting to design talent, and most often, a startup’s team is missing the fundamental design pillar, built solely on two key roles – business and technology.

Design for Startups, a project led by Emily Carr University of Art + Design and bringing together A&K Robotics and CoPilot AI will help close the gap between the technology and design communities. This is a fundamental step in building new talent capacity paving the way for a brighter future for design-led technology companies in B.C.

Over the next two years, Design for Startups will connect individual designers from Emily Carr with a tech startup in intensive 12-week sessions. Together, the designer and company, will develop applied solutions to a product design problem. This hands-on program will help advance the careers of emerging designers and improve the core product offering of up to 40 regional startups. 

As a kickstart for the much-needed talent pool in the tech ecosystem, the project is driving diversity and inclusion in the sector. Currently, the number of female web designers and developers in B.C. sits at 31% compared to the national average of 48%. By leveraging Emily Carr’s diversity, where more than 70% of participants in entrepreneurship programs are women with design backgrounds, this project will develop improved products, platforms, and services for startups.

Expanding diversity is good for business and it is estimated that companies with high gender diversity are 15% more likely to outperform the national average of their peers.

Get Involved

There are two ways that your organization can join the Supercluster and start to get involved in collaborative projects designed to build world class digital technologies while growing our ecosystem and capacity as we become a world leader in the digital transformation of our economies and our society.