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Meet the winners of Fresh Ideas 2018!


The winners of the 2017 – 18 Fresh Ideas competition were announced last night at the SIE Awards Dinner. The finalists joined an audience of SIE alumni, educators and supporters in the community at a glittering reception at the Corinthian Club in Glasgow. After short talks from SIE alumni Rebecca Pick (PIck Protection) and Michael Tougher (Soundbops) on their own start-up experiences, the winners were revealed.

The winners were:

SPECIAL AWARDS (each receiving £500)

Health & Wellbeing award
Ruth McLaren (University of Strathclyde)
Winning idea: A customised smart mattress topper to support patients struggling with immobility and reduce pressure on carers

Creative Industries award
Michael Youmans (University of Strathclyde)
Winning idea: Heritage watches hand-crafted in Glasgow from materials unique to Scotland.

Food & Drink award
Jenny Watt (Queen Margaret University)
Winning idea: Upcycling spent grain from the brewing industry for baking products

Environment award
Thomas Bayne (University of Abertay)
Winning idea: Youcan Recycling – a social enterprise providing beneficial part-time paid employment to individuals with additional support needs.

Social Enterprise Award
Rachel Bews and Daniela Schnitzler (UHI/University of Edinburgh)
Winning idea: ALICAS – a social enterprise supporting survivors of domestic abuse.


FINAL FRESH IDEAS WINNERS (each receiving £1000)

Ana Betancourt & Gabrielle Haley, (University of Edinburgh)
Winning idea: A post-production sound & audio design company creating affordable solutions for creators.

Lauren Leisk, (Queen Margaret University graduate)
Winning idea: Freshly prepared IBS friendly convenience foods.

Michael McPhillimy, (University of Strathclyde graduate)
Winning idea: Customised high value milled golf putters, made in Scotland.

Lorenzo Conti, (University of Edinburgh)
Winning idea: An innovative remote probing device to give early detection of potential grain spoilage and help farmers reduce losses.

Martina Zupan, (Edinburgh Napier University graduate)
Winning idea: A brand new fully compostable material to replace unsustainable products in cosmetics, packing, construction and other industries.


Commenting on the winners, Fiona Godsman, CEO of the Scottish Institute for Enterprise, said:

“Congratulations to all of our winners! It’s been another excellent year for Fresh Ideas and we’ve seen some fabulous entries, each representing a bright new idea at an early stage of development. It’s from these seeds that Scotland’s economy grows and we’re delighted to recognise them tonight and give them the help and support they need to help them succeed.”


The Fresh Ideas competition is an important first step for students and graduates with an idea for a disruptive new business or social enterprise. SIE are experts in helping young people find, refine and develop an idea and the skills they need to make it happen, with many alumni going on to further success with more advanced competitions and funding applications. In 2016-17, SIE alumni secured over £6.5million of funding and investment.

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