In light of the epidemic, the second design START mentor program of the Hungarian Fashion and Design Agency started with an online series of lectures, helping Hungarian design businesses lay down the foundations for their domestic stability with business fundamentals. The five design brands selected by the professional jury – Edina Andrási, Sára Kele, Kerekes Furniture, Apol Temesi and László Tompa – can participate in an almost one-year-long course.
After the success of the first design START, the second round of the program commenced on April 23 this year, this time focusing on conveying business fundamentals necessary for more stable and efficient operation. An important change compared to the previous program is that with the epidemic in mind, as a responsible organization, the HFDA decided to start the first phase of the program (a lecture series consisting of six modules) online, and it also reflects on tackling the new challenges brought on by the changed economic situation through its topics.
The second round of design START first launched in 2019 was based on the market research conducted by the Hungarian Fashion and Design Agency in the design industry as well as the deep interviews made with designers, which pinpointed the main challenges of Hungarian designers as well as the areas in need of development. The mentor program was created by considering the feedback received from the players of the industry, which contributes to optimizing the business operations of Hungarian brands as well as to strengthening their market position as a key strategic pillar of the Agency.
The designers could apply to the mentor program in the framework of an open tender, and a professional jury of seven selected the five best designers from the applicants. A primary aspect considered by the jury was for the entrants to propose unique, creative ideas that are also feasible from a business point of view, as these factors are indispensable for holding one’s ground in the design START program. In the training program, the designers considered to be the best by the jury – Edina Andrási, Sára Kele, Kerekes Furniture, Apol Temesi and László Tompa – can improve their skills on the fields of design, manufacturing and business: they will be able to implement a more stable operation after completing the mentor program, and can also acquire recognition for their brands.
Hungarian design businesses are particularly vulnerable in the economic situation caused by the pandemic, and so their professional support is even more important. The Hungarian Fashion and Design Agency also took these factors into consideration when it decided to launch the mentor program online, as soon as possible. The protégés could expand their knowledge and skills in the field of business planning, financing, design communication, marketing and digital technology in the framework of the customized online courses. They were tutored by Hungarian experts including company manager Attila Gaszt; investment managers Nikolett Kázsmér, Ádám Halász and Sára Szendrő; cultural mediator Attila Nemes and online marketing expert Marcell Tóth, who provided valuable and reliable advice to the participants owing to their extensive expertise and experiences.
In the next part of the training program, the protégés will be able to deepen their knowledge in terms of branding and law. The former will be facilitated by award-winning designer Gergely Hosszú and Dr. Ádám György will provide guidance to the brands in the latter. Provided that the epidemiological situation allows it, the study trips and internships can be organized within a few months, in the course of which the protégés will be able to learn the best practices of eminent representatives of the profession.
“The first design START program was launched in 2019, the participants of which now have a stable business model and they could also experience positive changes in their visibility and recognition in Hungary. The long journey made by them proved to be exemplary for other designers, too – resulting in the demand for continuing design START amongst the representatives of the industry. Each and every one of the new protégés work at an outstanding professional standard, I am sure that their achievements will inspire other Hungarian designers, too” – told Zsófia Bata-Jakab, CEO of the HFDA.