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Create Get UHI Students Enterprising with the 2013 Business Idea Competition

SIE’s national FRESH IDEAS competition ties in with local level competitions at each institution, with their local winners going on to the national competition. We asked our local UHI SIE Intern, Rachael Bews, to tell us about their local competition and how things are going this year.

Nothing fires up students’ creativity and imagination better than a business idea competition, and the 2013 University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) Business Idea Competition is no exception. Run by Create, the Highland Centre for Enterprise and Innovation based at Inverness College UHI, and in association with Business Gateway, the competition offers the chance to win a share of £8000 and business support to put enterprising ideas into action.

This year’s competition closed on the 30th October and has received just fewer than 150 entries from students and community members all over the Highlands and Islands. The esteemed judging panel met earlier this week to whittle down the entries to just 16 shortlisted finalists. The finalists have entered a range of truly diverse and fantastic ideas for commercial businesses and social enterprises. Where eligible, the finalists will also have the opportunity to enter the 2013 SIE Fresh Ideas Competition (

The judges, who will meet again to select the competition’s winners during the Finals Day on Wednesday 20th November, are all experienced in the world of business start-up. Donald Mackenzie is Business Gateway Manager for the Highland and Moray region, Chris Blake is Managing Director of Blake Geoservices Ltd and Polly Cameron is a key advisor at Highlands and Islands Social Enterprise Zone (HISEZ).

During the coming week finalists will take part in one-to-one support sessions with members of the Create team, where they will be assisted with their pitching skills, helped with their presentations and prepared for the events of the Finals Day. The Finals Day is a High Impact Event for Global Entrepreneurship Week, the world’s largest campaign to support entrepreneurship (, and evidences the importance of the event to entrepreneurship in the region.  

Both SIE and Create support and encourage students and recent graduates to pursue careers as entrepreneurs and improve their employability through the acquisition of enterprise skills. Such skills are developed through participation in competitions, including the UHI Business Idea Competition and the SIE Fresh Ideas Competition, where students demonstrate their ability to think innovatively, work creatively, communicate effectively and solve problems. Why not give it a go?

To find out more about the 2013 UHI Business Idea Competition:



To follow how the 2013 Business Idea Competition unfolds and for behind the scenes action:



We’ll be following up with Rachael once the UHI winners are announced. For information on how you can enter your local business ideas competition, contact your local SIE Intern ( FRESH IDEAS officially closes for entries on 29 November 2013. NEW VENTURES, for more well developed business ideas, or for businesses which have already launched, closes for entries on 24 January 2014.