Scotland’s young entrepreneurs earmarked for success


Scotland’s top future entrepreneurial talent was last night recognised at a prestigious awards ceremony in Glasgow as the winners of the annual Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) Fresh Ideas competition were announced.

Hailing from universities across the central belt, six students – four individuals and one team of two – had their business ideas recognised by a panel of judges from across the business and academic community at the country’s only national enterprise event aimed at students.

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Business ideas spanned across sectors and industries, with £1,000 being awarded by sponsors, Royal Bank of Scotland, to the following concepts:

  1. Ana Betancourt & Gabrielle Haley (Team), University of Edinburgh
    A post-production sound & audio design company creating affordable solutions for creators.
  2. Lauren Leisk, Queen Margaret University graduate
    Freshly prepared IBS friendly convenience foods.
  3. Michael McPhillimy, University of Strathclyde graduate
    Customised high value milled golf putters, made in Scotland.
  4. Lorenzo Conti, University of Edinburgh
    An innovative remote probing device to give early detection of potential grain spoilage and help farmers reduce losses.
  5. Martina Zupan, Edinburgh Napier University graduate
    A brand new fully compostable material to replace unsustainable products in cosmetics, packing, construction and other industries.

The Fresh Ideas competition was aimed at developing seedling business ideas from students and recent graduates at Scottish universities. Developed by SIE, an organisation whose aim is to encourage students to develop enterprising skills, the competition helps entrants develop business know-how, with workshops delivered by specialist SIE consultants to demonstrate how they can turn a good idea into a successful venture.

Speaking at the event, held at the Corinthian, Fiona Godsman, Chief Executive at SIE, said:

“Scotland has a significant pool of entrepreneurial talent but part of the challenge is being able to harness that talent at an early stage, and encourage young people to both recognise their abilities and to use them to create new ventures which will have a positive impact on society and the economy.

“An early stage support network is therefore an essential part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Scotland which can nurture seedling ideas into fully fledged business plans. SIE’s Fresh Ideas competition aims to fulfil this role, and in the past we’ve seen some strong winners who’ve then gone on to flourish through support available both from SIE and through Scotland’s extensive entrepreneurial network.

“If the standard of this year’s entrants is anything to go by, it’s safe to say Scotland’s universities and colleges are home to a hotbed of entrepreneurial talent which will help fuel our business pipeline for years to come.”

Jim McIntyre, regional director for Corporate and Commercial Banking at the Royal Bank of Scotland, said:

“Royal Bank of Scotland is a proud supporter of SIE’s Fresh Ideas competition. The standard of this year’s entrants shows that Scotland’s students are full of innovative ideas. Support at an early stage will help today’s young entrepreneurs grow into the business leaders of tomorrow and we are keen to help them succeed.”

Special category winners were also recognised by joint sponsors Marks and Clerk.

  1. Healthcare: Ruth McLaren, University of Strathclyde

A customised smart mattress topper to support patients struggling with immobility and reduce pressure on carers

  1. Creative Industries: Michael Youmans, University of Strathclyde

Heritage watches hand-crafted in Glasgow from materials unique to Scotland.

  1. Food and Drink: Jenny Watt, Queen Margaret University

Upcycling spent grain from the brewing industry for baking products

  1. Environment: Thomas Bayne, University of Abertay

Youcan Recycling – a social enterprise providing beneficial part-time paid employment to individuals with additional support needs.

  1. Social Enterprise: Rachel Bews and Daniela Schnitzler, UHI/University of Edinburgh

ALICAS – a social enterprise supporting survivors of domestic abuse.

All winners will have the opportunity to seek further support from SIE as they progress their businesses to the next stage of development and new budding entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to submit their own business ideas to Fresh Ideas’ next round in October 2018.

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