Published: December 3, 2021 | Updated: December 3, 2021

Consultancy wins £25,000 grant for innovative product after using free LEP bid-writing service

Tom Parsons and Sophie Godfrey (second and third left) with members of the Aetha Design team.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

A product design consultancy has won a £25,000 grant to launch an innovative piece of equipment next year.

Poole-based Aetha Design is the latest business to benefit from Dorset LEP’s free bid-writing service.

The grant, from Innovate UK, will allow Aetha to launch TOTEM, helping creatives capture moving images from vehicles in a safe way.

It is the consultancy’s first product designed, tested and, ultimately, manufactured within the UK.

The plan is to launch to market in 2022.

Dorset LEP’s bid-writing support service, delivered through the growth hub – Dorset Gateway – has helped secure over £1.7 million in funding to Dorset businesses since April 2019.

Kevin Brooks, Dorset Gateway’s bid-writing specialist, said: “Aetha’s product is innovative and potentially game-changing.

“We’re delighted that our support was able to help them put a solid case to Innovate UK and secure the funding to take the idea forward.

“Aetha is another great example of the brilliant Dorset businesses we’re here to assist across all sectors.”

Aetha was founded in 2018 and is owned by Tom Parsons and Sophie Godfrey.

The five-strong team has designed products for global brands including Aquapac, Cupple and Osprey.

It helps startups and SMEs design products in various sectors from concept through to manufacture.

The consultancy, which moved to a new design studio on Poole Quay last year, has an onsite workshop with five x 3D printers and industrial sized sewing machines.

Historically, Aetha has not launched any products of its own but that’s all set to change in 2022 with the help of the Innovate UK grant.

Sophie and Tom are looking to manufacture TOTEM, pictured left, locally, if possible.

They have sub-contracted HUMAN.Creative, based in Brighton, and Jake Baggaley and Jamie James, both filmmakers/photographers in Dorset, to help test the alpha prototypes for TOTEM over the coming months.

The Dorset LEP  bid-writing service is a key part of Dorset LEP’s business support offer.

It’s fully funded and aimed at supporting high-potential and high-growth organisations looking to apply for funding.

Find out more at and follow Aetha’s progress on Instagram at and @totemcamerasystems.