Young Innovators Challenge awards ceremony recognises achievement of Scotland’s young entrepreneurs
Scotland’s brightest young social innovators were honoured at a prestigious showcase event on Thursday evening in Glasgow as part of the latest Young Innovators Challenge.
Around 38 winners of this year’s competition, which rewards students who have business ideas with a positive social impact, attended the dinner at 29 Private Members Club in Glasgow.
This year’s Young Innovators Challenge attracted 267 entries – each developing concepts to help tackle social, health, environmental and infrastructure challenges currently facing Scotland. Entries were then judged by a select panel of Scottish businesspeople, before a final 38 winners were chosen in in May, each receiving £2,000 in funding to develop their ideas further.
On the evening guests were welcomed by Fiona Godsman, CEO of the Scottish Institute for Enterprise, before hearing a keynote speech from Annabelle Ewing MSP, Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment, who spoke about the key Young Innovators Challenge plays in encouraging a culture of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship among Scotland’s young people.
The audience also heard from past Young Innovators Challenge winners including Christopher McCann, founder of Snap40, who will be trialling his potentially lifesaving medical wrist band in an NHS hospital later this year. Snap40 was also recently approved for a SMART:Scotland grant of £100k. Rebecca Pick, another past competition winner gave an update on the progress of Pick Protection and her ‘smart’ GPS personal attack alarm, Personal Guardian, which she has since been able to secure substantial funding to develop including Santander’s Universities Entrepreneurship Awards and support from Gabriel Investments.
Commenting, MSP and Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment, Annabelle Ewing, said:
“The Young Innovators Challenge has again clearly shown that there is a wealth of fresh, innovative ideas and thriving entrepreneurial spirit among Scotland’s young people. I am delighted that so many young people took the opportunity to participate in this competition, tested their ideas and gained valuable new skills.”
As part of the competition, the final 38 winners were also offered the chance to take part in interactive business workshops over the summer with a view to participating in a formal Dragons’ Den style pitch to win an additional £5k in funding – the winners of which were announced on the evening.
- · MindMate, an app that aims to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of those living with dementia and their carers, was awarded £5,000.
- · Power Enable Solutions by Juan Echenique, a device that increases the efficiency of wind turbines was awarded £2,500.
- · Biotix by James McIlroy and Matthew Bracchi, an alternative medical therapy for bowel illnesses and ‘Moveable’ by Kirstin Lamotte, a stroke rehabilitation device, were each awarded £1,000.
Gordon Merrylees, Head of Entrepreneurship at Royal Bank of Scotland and one of the pitch challenge judges, said: “The level of talent on the day was highly impressive. It was inspiring to see young people demonstrating the passion to create something positive alongside a strong business acumen. After watching the various pitches, I have no doubt in my mind they will all go on to make their mark in the business world.”
Fiona Godsman, CEO of the Scottish Institute for Enterprise, said: ““The quality, diversity and creativity of entries this year has been fantastic and really highlights the huge pool of entrepreneurial talent we have here in Scotland. We held this event to recognise each winners’ efforts and contributions to improving society.
“During the competition process, we’ve seen many ideas which will have a positive impact in the individuals’ own communities and beyond. I wish the winners every success in the future and look forward to watching them progress with the help of our advisors and the support of the fantastic enterprise community in Scotland.”
The Young Innovators Challenge is run by the Scottish Institute for Enterprise through the Scottish Funding Council, on behalf of the Scottish Government and is part of the Scotland CAN DO approach.