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Central Bohemia’s Creative Vouchers teach businesses to think different, says SIC manager

Central Bohemia-based MONTANA s.r.o. is a supplier of industrial hydrant systems with a 19-year tradition. However, other vendors on the market offer nearly identical products, so customers choose by the price and delivery date. That is why MONTANA decided to leverage creative services to design an original product series that would stand out on the market while being relevant also for public spaces. The D19/D25 hydrant system, a new flagship in MONTANA’s portfolio, was made possible thanks to Central Bohemia’s Creative Voucher program.  

“Our aim was to address a new segment of customers for whom aesthetics and functionality are equally important as the price. We want to differentiate our product by high-quality design as well as user value,” says Martin Kouřil, CEO, MONTANA“That is why we decided to leverage the support offered by Central Bohemia and joined forces with Martin Tvarůžek, a renowned designer from the city of Brno. We needed a future-proof product that would satisfy the requirements of industrial design while appealing to public facilities, such as shopping centers, hotels, offices, as well as museums, sports facilities, and transport hubs. I am happy that the collaboration bore fruit and that the newly designed product offers us new opportunities to expand to foreign markets where EU fire safety standards are accepted.” 

MONTANA Hydrant systems. Source: Montana

Good design makes good business

The Central Bohemian Creative Voucher provides a one-time financial support of up to CZK 300,000 to foster collaboration between small and medium businesses and providers of creative services. The purposes is to help businesses design and promote products and services, create more effective marketing strategies and prepare portfolios for PR communication, with the ultimate aim to boost their competitiveness on both the local and foreign markets.  The Creative Voucher’s key advantages include a minimal administrative burden and speedy payment of the subsidy. Since 2018, Central Bohemia provided such subsidies to 48 companies in two calls, with the total amount reaching CZK 9,576,384. In the second call, the program was split into two chapters – creative services and industrial design, with a higher budget allocation for the latter in recognition of the demandingness of new design development.

“The Creative Voucher program has proved that the decision to support industrial product design in businesses was a step in the right direction,” says Barbara Svojanovská, Project Manager at Central Bohemian Innovation Center (SIC) which is responsible for the administration of the program and communication with both businesses and the creative sector. “There has been an increasing demand for industrial design among applicants. At the same time, we see how great an impact this support may have on the development of entrepreneurship in the region. We are happy that the creative vouchers have helped to change the general perception of creativity among businesses. They now better understand that collaboration with seemingly unrelated fields offers an enormous business potential. In a sense, we teach businesses ‘think different’.”