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Scotland’s newest entrepreneurial stars gather in Edinburgh to develop their business ideas

Scotland’s newest entrepreneurial stars met in Edinburgh on 20th – 21st February to develop their ideas and early stage businesses, following in the footsteps of some of Scotland’s brightest young business leaders.

Entrants of the Scottish Institute for Enterprise’s Fresh Ideas and New Ventures competitions came together at the John MacIntyre Conference Centre in Edinburgh for SIE’s Exploration Weekend. Having progressed through the first stage of the competitions, Exploration Weekend was an opportunity for entrants to work on their ideas with the support and guidance of help of speakers and business experts and prepare for the final pitching to judges.

A fantastic range of ideas were represented frominstitutions all over Scotland. From a new range of shoes designed forclubbing, to innovative games, robotics and next generation support for theelderly, the energy, enthusiasm and passion to succeed is clear

Previous winners of SIE competitions, include Rebecca Pick ( Pick Protection), Amanda Day ( All Day Designs), Chitresh Sharma and Louis Schena ( Swipii) and Christopher McCann ( Snap40), all of whom have gone on to considerable success, including awards from the Scottish EDGE.

SIE’s competitions aren’t simple business competitions. Participation in the process gives students so much more. The competition process itself takes students from the very beginning, often just an idea, and supports them all the way, encouraging them to experiment in a safe place and turn their idea into reality. All participants, not just the finalists are encouraged to develop their ideas with free one-to-one help and assistance from SIE’s Business Advisors.

As Fiona Godsman, CEO of the Scottish Institute for Enterprise, explains:

“Just taking part in our competitions and engaging with SIE, gives students the opportunity to practice entrepreneurship without any risk. If they decide that they don’t want to continue with their idea, they’ll have gained valuable experience they can take to an employer after graduation.

We’ve had another fantastic weekend with the latest batch of amazing young entrepreneurs coming through our competitions. They can connect with other entrepreneurs and start to build their own networks. For many of them, this will just be the beginning and we’ll be there to help them every step of the way.”

Following Exploration Weekend, the finalists will pitch to competition judges for the opportunity to win cash prizes. The top prize of New Ventures, the competition for more advanced ideas and early stage businesses, is £10,000, sponsored by Bank of Scotland.

The final competition winners will be announced onstage at the SIE Student Enterprise Summit in Edinburgh on 23 March. (Tickets are available here).

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