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Design Hub

A free programme to help develop your idea and work towards making it a real product.

Go from ‘inventive idea’ to a ‘prototype-with-potential’.

What is Design Hub?

Design Hub is a programme that guides you through the initial design development and validation process, helping you to take your idea from a thought to a credible concept!

You will have access to 10 free mentorship sessions with seasoned product development professionals. You will be led through the process of product development, working on building a foundation in the following areas:

  • Market research
  • User testing
  • Iterative concept creation
  • Storytelling
  • Pitching
  • Prototyping

This process is unique to each person, and will be designed to support your individual journey. It is self-paced, meaning you can spend as much time as you are able to on your project, a minimum engagement of 2+ hours a week is recommended.

You will reach milestones throughout the programme that will help you to push your concept closer to the goal of realisation. These milestones are flexible time-wise to enable you to work around your other commitments, perfect if you’re working or caring for children and loved ones.

You will have the chance to access up to £3000 worth of funding that can be used with vetted local suppliers to support the development of your product through prototyping. At the end of the programme, coaches and Catalyst staff will support you in creating a contingency plan to help continue your progress, ensuring you leave the programme with a path forward on your product development journey.

Registration of interest for Design Hub 2024 is now closed. 

Why apply for Design Hub?

  • Guidance and support with up to 10 mentorship sessions with professional product developers.
  • Up to £3000 worth of funding for prototyping.
  • Access to a co-working space with an entrepreneurial community on a similar journey.
  • Support in user-testing to understand your target market.
  • Access to a wide network of entrepreneurs, mentors and peers within the local area.
  • Develop at your own pace. The programme is flexible to work around your life and the time you can spare, making it bespoke to you.
  • Learn new skills such as branding, pitching, user-testing, and product development in a supportive environment through online and in person workshops.
  • Get a personalised contingency plan at the end of the programme to support you moving forward with the next stage of your product development.

This programme gives you the opportunity to better understand your idea and the process of developing it in a safe and risk-free environment.

Who should apply to Design Hub?

Design Hub is an inclusive innovation programme, supporting people from a wide range of backgrounds.

Please apply to the programme if:

  • You have an early-stage, innovative product idea (physical or digital)
  • You are from a non-technical/ non-STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) background

Design Hub aims to support innovators from a diverse range of backgrounds. We want to support those who don’t have a technical background but have an innovative product idea that they want to develop. There is a limited number of places so early application is encouraged.

All we ask for is enthusiasm, trust and an open mind!

Are you ready to start your development journey?


  • What do we mean by 'prototype'?

    Designing a product is an iterative process. This means it typically takes several rounds of trying, testing and learning before a final design is chosen for manufacture.


    When we say ‘prototype’ we mean a wide range of representations.


    Depending on your stage of development this could mean anything from:

    • A proof-of-concept (POC), something that will visually or physically show that your idea would work.
    • A visual aesthetic model to use for pitching, showing a final design but not necessarily its function.
    • An example you can use to test with your target market.


    The type of prototype you will need will be uncovered as you go through the programme. The mentors will help you understand what you need to learn from a prototype to decide what is best to get you further along your journey.

  • What do we mean by 'innovative'?

    When we say ‘innovative’ we mean the idea meets a few of the following criteria:

    •It is novel in some way, either in approach, material, technology etc. It could be an existing idea but is brought forward by the introduction of something new.
    •Is a solution in a generally under-identified problem space that has as potential to grow and scale.


    However, we are open to challenge this, if you feel your product is innovative but doesn’t match this above criteria please submit interest and tell us why you see it as innovative!

  • What does Non Tech /Non-STEM mean?

    Non-Tech/ Non-STEM means you don’t have existing experience or a professional background in either Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, or Design.

Meet Your Programme Manager

Enya Carroll

Enya Carroll

Programme Manager – Design Hub

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