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Highlands and Islands Student Entrepreneurs Win Start-Up Funding

Rachael Bews, SIE intern for UHI, has been working closely with Create Highland on their 8th annual business idea competition. Create is The Highland Centre for Enterprise and Innovation based at Inverness College UHI. In this blog piece Rachael talks about what happened in the final round of pitching and announces the winners.

Seven students from The University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) have won a share of an impressive prize fund of £8000, generously donated by national and regional businesses and the public sector. This was the eighth annual UHI Business Idea Competition organised by Create in partnership with Business Gateway. The finalists travelled from all over the Highlands and Islands on Wednesday 20th November to present their ideas to the esteemed judging panel, comprising Donald Mackenzie – Business Gateway Manager for Highland and Moray, Polly Chapman – Key Advisor at Highlands and Islands Social Enterprise Zone (HISEZ) and Chris Blake – Managing Director of Blake Geoservices Ltd. 


After a challenging and exhilarating day of pitching, more than 70 guests enjoyed the competition’s prize-giving ceremony. The evening’s proceedings featured a fascinating speech from best-selling author and social enterprise champion – the Barefoot Entrepreneur, Robert Ashton, before the highly anticipated prize-giving took place. The top prize of £1500 and the £1000 prize for best student idea were won by Ellise Morrison from Islay for her enchanting mobile coffee shop concept.

UHI Winner

The UHI Business Idea Competition generates and radiates an atmosphere of positivity and creativity and is truly a most inspirational event to be a part of. It was a High Impact Event for Global Entrepreneurship Week, the world’s largest campaign to support entrepreneurship (, which evidences the importance of the event to entrepreneurship in the region.

Student finalists and winners of the 2013 UHI Business Idea Competition will now be invited to maximise their chances of winning by entering the SIE Fresh Ideas Competition. Both the UHI Business Idea Competition and the SIE Fresh Ideas Competition help to inspire and encourage students to develop enterprising ideas of their own. All it takes is one flicker of thought to generate a spark of genius. Want to give it a go and get enterprising? Visit

Create is based at Inverness College UHI, a partner in the University of the Highlands and Islands. Their mission is to build an enterprising culture within education and help learners to develop their enterprising skills whether they go into employment or want to start their own business.

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



To find out more about SIE’s work at UHI:



The 2013 UHI Business Idea Competition Winners

Student Winners

Top Prize £1500 – Ellise Morrison (16), from Islay

Best Commercial Idea £1000 – Melanie MacArthur (40), from Nairn

Best Social Enterprise £1000 – Kyle Smith (22), from Elgin

Best Student Idea £1000 – Ellise Morrison (16), from Islay

Most Innovative Idea £1000 – Euan Bowditch (32), from Inverness

Best Engineering & Technology Idea £500 – Jordan Tiernan (21), from Fort William

Most Creative Idea £500 – Bridget Dombi (29), from Inverness

Special Achievement Award £500 – Josh Franchetti (21), from Inverness

Community Winners

Best Researched Idea £500 – Yvonne Rennie (31), from Inverness

Best Presentation £500 – Louise de Raad (33), from Carrbridge