Our Offices & Partners Abroad

Factsheet: Design Work Grants

Pro Helvetia supports projects that demonstrate clear entrepreneurial objectives, originality, formal and design quality, feasibility, as well as sustainable benefits, a high degree of innovation and market understanding.

Work grants are available for four project phases

  1. Concept development
  2. Prototype development
  3. Production
  4. Project extension

General funding criteria

Design work grants are available for all areas of professional design practice with the exception of interactive media. The latter are supported by separate calls for applications.

Application conditions

Applicants (designers or studios) must fulfil the following criteria

  • Funding measures are aimed at applicants who are either Swiss citizens or have permanent residence in Switzerland
  • The applicant is also the principal idea generator
  • Applicants may submit projects up to seven years after graduation or within the first seven years after establishing a company (latest foundation date: 1 January 2014).
  • The project is carried out according to professional standards
  • The project is highly innovative

Additional criteria for production and project extension funding

  • Proven market research (i.e. target groups and the future market)
  • The project must be submitted by a legal entity (GmbH, AG, etc.). Sole proprietorships are also eligible provided applicants are willing to convert such businesses into a legal entity
  • Copyright and the rights of use have been established and are held by the applicant

Restrictions

No funding is available for

  • Infrastructure costs
  • Commissioned work and projects that are part of an advertising campaign
  • Unique items, art and craft projects, gallery projects

Project submission

  • The application deadline for all funding measures is 1 March 2021 (inclusive)
  • No funding is awarded retrospectively. The corresponding project phase may be completed at the earliest four months after the application deadline
  • Applications must be submitted via myprohelvetia.ch
  • Essentially, all documents must be submitted in English. If the applicant has no knowledge of English, he/she must provide a project summary (max. 1 A4 page) and may submit the documents either in German, French or Italian. The summary will be translated into English by Pro Helvetia for the jury process
  • Only one project may be submitted per funding stage
  • In the event of rejection, the same project may be resubmitted only once
  • The application must be complete and submitted on time

Selection procedure

Projects are selected by a jury of experts. The selection process is conducted in English. Selection is based on the dossiers submitted specifically for the individual funding phases. Pro Helvetia reserves the right to assign applications to another funding phase.

For work grants whose application deadline is 1 March, the jury will meet at the end of April. Applicants will be notified in writing by the end of May at the latest.

The next Design Work Grants will be available for applications in December 2021

Agreement

A written agreement will be drawn up with all applicants whose projects have been positively assessed. The agreement contains specific measures, project milestones including time planning and a funding schedule. Agreements are negotiated individually with applicants according to the specific project situation. The aims are project success and skills development in line with overall project progression.

The Four Funding Phases

1. Concept Development Funding

Concept development funding supports research that is conducted ahead of creating of a prototype. In this phase, the creative process is supported by enabling applicants to carry out research (e.g. material and functionality research, project or process preparation and review) related to pursuing a concrete project.

Maximum funding: CHF 10,000Application dossier (English):

Application dossier (English)
Applications should be complete, sent in pdf format, and should contain the supporting documents listed below. Documents should be ordered and labelled as follows

  • Project description (max. 5 A4 pages) including
    • Detailed project description with pictures or sketches
    • Development plan and project vision
  • Participant CVs and portfolio
  • Budget

2. Prototype Development Funding

Funding in this area supports either the development of prototypes, a pilot series or a sample collection.

Maximum funding: CHF 20,000

Application dossier (English)
Applications should be complete, sent in pdf format, and should contain the supporting documents listed below. Documents should be ordered and labelled as follows

  • Concept paper (max. 10 A4 pages) including
    • Detailed project description
    • Project development plan, production and marketing plan
    • Value proposition (forms downloadable from myprohelvetia.ch)
    • Prototype plans and first visualisations
  • Participant CVs and portfolio, as well as details of project organisation including a clear statement of duties, responsibilities and structure
  • Detailed budget including financing plan

3. Production Funding

Production funding supports the first production of a project based on a completed prototype or a sample collection, as well as an oral presentation («pitching»).

Production funding is awarded as supplementary funding («Matching Grant»). Funding depends on applicants either funding the project themselves or securing third-party funding (e.g. private investment, crowdfunding campaign, publishing agreement, co-production agreement). Written proof is required.

Maximum funding: Pro Helvetia matches the amount of self-funding or third-party funding (up to CHF 50,000)

Application dossier (English)
Applications should be complete, sent in pdf format, and should contain the supporting documents listed below. Documents should be ordered and labelled as follows

  • Concept paper (max. 10 pages) including
    • Detailed project description with plans, visualisations, etc.
    • Marketing strategy
    • Cost estimate/tenders for the planned production
    • Value proposition (forms downloadable from myprohelvetia.ch)
  • Participant CVs and portfolio, as well as details of project organisation including a clear statement of duties, responsibilities and structure
  • Detailed budget including financing plan
  • Proof of own funds or third-party funding
  • Written proof of copyright and all other rights of use for the project

Pitching Session before the Jury
Applicants whose projects meet the formal criteria will be invited to an oral presentation (7-minute pitch and 7 minutes of questions) of the created prototypes before the expert jury.

4. Project Extension Funding

Project extension funding supports scaling a project to a successful product. Funding is awarded based on an advanced project, a first product series, initial success as well as its potential for medium and long-term success.

Examples: Internationalisation, cooperation with a new partner, PR and marketing measures, etc.

Maximum supplementary funding: CHF 20,000

Application dossier (English)
Applications should be complete, sent in pdf format, and should contain the supporting documents listed below. Documents should be ordered and labelled as follows

  • Concept paper (max. 10 A4 pages) including
    • Scalability or detailed description of the project phase to be finalised
    • Project presentation
    • Value proposition (forms downloadable from myprohelvetia.ch)
  • Participant CVs and portfolio, as well as details of project organisation including a clear statement of duties, responsibilities and structure
  • Detailed budget including financing plan
  • Written proof of copyright and all other rights of use for the project