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SIE Entrepreneur, Liita Cairney, is Changing the World

Social innovation is an emerging worldwide phenomenon that brings together enterprising and entrepreneurial thinking with creative, innovative skills to deliver solutions with a social impact; benefitting people’s lives and communities for the better. Scotland has a fantastic history of innovation and ideas that have changed the world. A great example of a social innovator is SIE Entrepreneur, Liita Cairney. 


Liita Cairney is currently studying a PhD in Global Public Health Policy at the University of Edinburgh. She is the Director of Kalitasha; a business developing a wide range of solutions to poverty-related health issues. The company’s first product, Koree, will provide an effective solution to the issue of menstrual hygiene.  To collect research for her PhD, Liita visited her home country, Namibia, during which she had a chance meeting with the Prime Minister who deterred her from seeking a job with the Namibian Government. Instead, he inspired her to develop a simple solution which would address an issue of poverty still present in Namibia. Liita successfully identified a social issue, showing that a little conscious observation can go a long way.  She has recognised an opportunity in the market for an effective product with potential for great impact on impoverished communities.

In 2015, Liita was awarded a grant from the SIE Patent Fund. Her application for the international component of the UK patent for Koree has now been submitted and she continues to work with SIE Business and Innovation Advisor, Tom McGuire, to progress her business further. See Liita talking about her journey here.

Feeling inspired by Liita’s story?  We want YOUR* ideas which address social problems and make a difference to how we live in Scotland. The ideas don’t have to be the next ‘big thing’, but like Liita’s Koree, must have the potential to make a real social impact. The solutions to the challenges we face are out there and just need that first spark of ingenuity to bring them together!

There are prizes of £100 for the best 50 ideas. Both individual and team entries will be accepted. Entries can be submitted online until 6 April 2016.  Up to fifty entrants will be invited to a special Innovation Day event in April. They’ll work on their ideas with the help of business experts and mentors and get ready for the next stage of the competition. Stage 2 judging will take place in May.  Up to twenty-five finalists will attend a special residential boot camp in June where they will pitch to judges for the chance to win £1000.

Think outside the box. Think Differently.  Be an innovator!

Visit to enter by 6th April 2016.

*Entrants must be students or a recent graduate (up to two years) from a Scottish University or College.


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