For the first time in its history, the Kuopio Academy of Design Foundation awarded a grant to North Savo designers of the design and craft industry to start or develop a business. The recipients of the grants were announced on 15.12.2017. The total number of grant applicants was 20, of which three design businesses from Kuopio were nominated by the working group and the board of the Kuopio Academy of Design Foundation as grant recipients, based on their applications and project plans: Emilia Karenina Oy, Minna Suuronen Oy and Piirre Collective Oy.
The young company was founded in 2017 and already at the end of the year, its production has grown by half. The company has been actively featured and received a lot of media publicity. Emilia Åman has graduated from the Kuopio Academy of Design in 2006.
The company uses durable and genuine materials, such as birch plywood, in its products. The manufacturers of the products are from Kuopio.
The 3,000 € grant was awarded for expert assistance for the introduction of the SFS standards and the European furniture manufacturers' standards for the EK for KIDS furniture.
”It’s wonderful that they support localism. It warms my heart that they support designers who have graduated from Kuopio, who have gone off to the world and returned back home. The grant also increases the visibility of design.”
Emilia Åman, Emilia Karenina Oy
Minna Suuronen has started business in 1998 by making happy and colorful hats. Since then, the business has expanded to include joyful, colorful clothing and accessories made from natural materials for women and children. Minna Suuronen designs the collections herself, and they are made in Finland. She has several retailers around Finland. Minna Suuronen has graduated as a designer from the Kuopio Academy of Design in 2002.
The 4,000 € grant was awarded for the creation of a new online store and the opening of an international sales channel.
”I am really happy about this grant, which allows the development of Minna Suuronen Oy’s digital business and a beginning for its internationalization.”
Minna Suuronen, Minna Suuronen Oy
Piirre Collective consists of four young designers graduated from Kuopio Academy of Design in 2014. The company was founded in 2013. At that time, its main product was pattern design, and the company was a cooperative. The company became a joint-stock company in 2017 and focused on corporate customer communications. The impact on the area is created through businesses.
A grant of 3,000 € was granted for the development and marketing of the joint-stock company.
”It is great that such a grant is distributed. The grant allows us to make businesses and business decision-makers more aware of the economic, social and societal impact of visual communication. We believe that the benefit of the grant extends extensively to the benefit of the companies in the region and will be multiplied. The grant demonstrates the importance of designers' work in practice, which also creates a positive image of designers in general.”