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Fresh Ideas 2020-21 Winners Announced!

BioLiberty – Grip assist glove

The winners of the national 2020-21 Fresh Ideas competition have been revealed! After a difficult deliberation, SIE’s judging panel have made their selection from 14 talented finalists who gathered virtually to pitch live from all across Scotland. With a high standard of presentations across the board, and with all candidates admirably rising to contemporary business challenges, this year’s champions should be extremely proud of their accomplishments.

Fresh Ideas is Scotland’s longest-running national student enterprise competition for early stage ideas, designed to help Scotland’s most ambitious young people to grow from the concept stage into a viable business or social enterprise. More than 240 students entered the competition in 2020-21, with five final winners receiving a cash prize of £1200 each and dedicated support from business advisors, and a further three receiving recognition with the Judge’s Special Award of £500 to accelerate their growth.

Knit It – Online knitting platform

The five overall winners of the £1200 cash prize are:

  • Maria Amorin from University of Edinburgh, who has developed a new filtration method to treat dye-polluted wastewater with the potential to revolutionise the global textile industry.
  • Calum Brodie of Abertay University, who has established BGK Academy – a specialised goalkeeper academy in Tayside providing training and coaching to meet the high demand for goalkeeper training in grass-roots football.
  • Lucy Fisher, a Robert Gordon University graduate, who has created Knit It – an innovative new online platform that will allow knitters of all abilities to take their creativity to new levels in an accessible, fun and easy to use way.
  • Ross O’Hanlon, a graduate of University of Edinburgh, with his start-up company BioLiberty which has developed the revolutionary Grip Assist Glove and digital therapy platform to help patients suffering from hand weakness recover strength and improve their mental wellbeing.
  • James Swinburne & Fergal Mackie of the University of Strathclyde, who have developed a new cutting-edge and user-friendly design for a simpler, stylish and affordable prosthetic hand.
BGK Academy – Goalkeeper training and equipment

Three additional winners were recognised with a Judges’ Special Award, each receiving a £500 prize and dedicated business support. These are:

  • Sinead Higham, a Queen Margaret University graduate, who has established ACTScotland – a new performing arts school in the heart of Lanarkshire that will fill the gap in accessibility to the arts.
  • Heather Richardson, a student at Queen Margaret University, with Queerativity – an online platform showcasing Queer Art by Queer Creators. It will amplify marginalised voices and act as a positive change-maker in the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Rachel Sim, a Robert Gordon University student, with Spruce Homeware – an online retailer providing a wide range of high-quality small business homewares.

“The judging panel were all incredibly enthused at the diverse and innovative start-up models brought forward by the finalists, with ideas promoting an inclusive agenda across a wide variety of sectors including healthcare, the arts and technology.

“The winning ideas have reinforced the thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem that we have here in Scotland. As Scotland’s longest-running national student enterprise competition for early-stage ideas, SIE has helped nurture thousands of start-up businesses which, in many cases, we have watched flourish into successful firms operating across the globe. It has been an incredibly rewarding journey and we wish all of our 2021 finalists the very best of luck as they venture into the next stage of their business.”

Fiona Godsman, Chief Executive of Scottish Institute for Enterprise

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners, who have shown tremendous adaptability, resilience and innovative skill in achieving this victory.

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