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Start Up Britain letting down British Designers?

So I start my Monday a little sleepy but in good spirits, checked my twitter stream and noticed Start Up Britain had launched.

I thought oh this looks good, nice to have some support for small businesses and start ups in Britain.

So I take a look around the site and in particular the ‘Startup’ section and notice that in their design section, they are promoting that startups use a company called 99designs among other crowd sourced overseas competition based design sites.
Err what? :mad:

To say I felt angry and let down is an understatement. 99Designs is US based company that uses designers from all over the world in a largely unpaid competition format. It’s disgraceful and extremely disappointing to see StartUp‘BRITAIN’ supporting a US based design site. Rather than supporting British designers! Isn’t design what Britain do well, in fact extremely well especially for a country of our size?

Read the rest here > Start Up Britain letting down British Designers? | Dot Design
That is pretty shocking, at best misguided at worst shows a complete lack of respect for the importance of the UK creative industries. As a side if anything was going to put me off a website it's a massive photo of moonface Cameron on the homepage. Is it just me or is the whole website just a load of sponsored links, the fact that Creating a Brand section has no introductory information other than a link to a Wiki article on 'what is a brand?' then some crowd sourcing links is beyond sloppy it just suggests this is how the design industry works.

At a time where they are cutting Business Link services to just an online black hole of articles this is quite worrying.
UPDATE: I've looked at the site this morning and although they are still promoting crowdsourced US based design sites they have changed the main design link to point to www.dbadirectory.org.uk which is excellent progress. Also it's encouraging to see those responsible acting so swiftly to correct their mistake.

Please don't get me wrong, overall I think that the idea is great and I'm obviously I'm all for helping small business (I own one). But maybe they could have been more impartial regarding the companies they recommend, which mainly seem to be large corporates giving very small discounts (10% etc).

I understand that this is because of the areas of interest the founders hold, so we are back to whether David Cameron should have launched it, stuck his face all over it and given the 'government backed' feel to the whole thing.

Lets hope they can turn this around as it is certainly a step in the right direction to helping small business and to be fair to them it is only day three.


Staff member
ummm. how is linking to the dbadirectory going to help 'start ups', they cost like a grand+ a year to 'join'..... and if I'm honest I'd never heard of them either.....
Levi said:
ummm. how is linking to the dbadirectory going to help 'start ups', they cost like a grand+ a year to 'join'..... and if I'm honest I'd never heard of them either.....
I know, but it's a step in the right direction, they seem to be listening ans changing things quickly also chatted with one of the founders online and she assured that there will be opportunities for small business to put their offers and services on the site.


Active Member
A quick change was definitely needed following the backlash on social media, blogs & news sites, and glad to see it's at least a UK site linked now.

The overall concept still seems rushed, way too much like a link farm, and to be honest poorly thought through. I know there's more to come, but I imagine the resources spent on this were pretty high compared with another site of similar complexity, why did they launch it as it is? Why not build up the resources, test the site with a focus group or two, and build something that will have a lasting impact. If this is the example set by the Government on building a site to help small businesses and startups, what chance does the average startup have of utilizing the web for their business if they follow this sites guidance, and as an example!

As for the floating heads... who's idea was that!? Seriously...



Active Member
Lucky you Gareth, as mentioned on Facebook, that's quite a backlink to get!
As they say, every cloud has a silver lining ;)