A scholarship for female startups

Design is a great career for both sexes. Working in design makes it possible to combine any mixture of doing, producing and managing. Strange thing is, research continually shows that women are more likely to be doing and men seem to be managing.

We want to help change that…

Our experience has made it clear studios with design management skills are more financially successful and more sustainable than those without. Problem is, a majority of studios are micro-businesses and that makes it hard for designers to stay current with, or get in front of, design trends and technology. That leaves little time to learn and hone business skills.

In the more mature studios, where there is time and space to manage the business, most often it is a male in the role. It’s odd, because university and private providers annually spit out a more gender-equal mix.

Research done both here (most visibly (pardon the pun) by PhD candidate Jane Connory in ‘Invisible: Women of Australian Graphic Design.’), and overseas (by the UK Design Council among others) shows the trend isn’t on the improve.

We’d like to ensure that when women do start their own business, they don’t ‘fail fast’. We can do this by offering a scholarship into one of our programs.

Introducing the inaugural DBC scholarship for female designers

We would like to support an Australian female graphic designer’s personal and professional growth through a $5,000 scholarship. The scholarship will cover:

  • enrolment to the Design Studio Management program
  • all fees, program reading material and full access to the DSM online learning portal
  • an additional six months mentoring from Greg Branson and Carol Mackay
  • 12 months membership to the Australian Graphic Design Association.

Why the Design Studio Management program

The Design Studio Management program equips designers with the understanding, skills and tools needed for successful leadership. It’s practical and can be done ‘one the job’. All the learnings are embedding through real world activities and supported with interviews with practicing Australian studio managers.

It’s relatively short – ten weeks (allowing approximately one hour per day) – and it’s completely flexible. It’s an online course that can be studied full or part time, in your own time, at your own pace. And you can start and stop as you need.

We think it is a perfect opportunity for graphic designer to learn the skills needed to be a confident, self-directed leader.

How to apply

The scholarship is open to an Australian female studio owner who founded their business within the last three years with a maximum of three staff.

It’s easy: simply apply in writing to Carol briefly (approx 250 words) describing:

  • your aim in founding a studio (approx 50 words)
  • issues you have faced starting and managing a design business (approx 100 words)
  • the type of professional development you have done, and what you think you need to do (approx 50 words)
  • your current involvement in the Australian graphic design industry. (approx 50 words).

Of course, include your name and your studio name and website 🙂

Applications close 6pm August 30, 2018. The successful applicant will be announced by email Wednesday September 5, 2018.


For women to be eligible for the scholarship you must provide:

  • company ABN
  • evidence that you have founded your studio within the past 3 years
  • evidence that you have less than three employees
  • proof you can finish the course within the next six months.

If you would like to discuss the scholarship or want more information please email in the first instance and we will be in touch.


Carol Mackay

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2018 is a big year for Carol. Thirty-three years after founding Mackay Branson design, she transitioned from client-focused projects to use her skills with the Design Business Council, and The Design Business School. Her interest is in making the complex simple. Her special skill is in packaging complicated content into bite-sized chunks of information that can be easily understood and digested.

Carol has just written a new program for the The Design Business School. The Design Studio Management Program is aimed at designers, design graduates and existing design studio managers to help them develop skills to fast track their career path. Contact Carol for more information.

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