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Young Innovators Challenge winners announced!

Picture Left to Right: David Townsend, Victoria Hamilton, Fiona Godsman (CEO of SIE), Michael Yiin Shih Jie, and Blair Bowman. Laura Jayne Nevin was unfortunately not able to attend the awards ceremony & collect her award in person.

Five talented young graduates have each been awarded £50,000 in business funding for their innovative ideas by the Young Innovators Challenge (YIC).

The 18-24 year old business brains were crowned winners at the awards dinner, held at the Supper Club in Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow, on Thursday, July 11.

Blair Bowman (Aberdeen University), David Townsend (St Andrews University), Laura Jayne Nevin (Edinburgh College of Art), Michael Yiin Shih Jie (Edinburgh University) and Victoria Hamilton (Strathclyde University) impressed the judges with their business plans during a tense process to claim the £50,000 and one year of dedicated business support to turn their ideas into reality.

The wins are the result of months of hard work developing their ideas including participating in the intensive YIC Bootcamp at the Apex Hotel in Dundee, where all the finalists were given valuable support and advice from industry experts.

The Young Innovators Challenge — run by Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) on behalf of the Scottish Government — is a national competition which encourages 18 to 24-year-olds to develop their entrepreneurial skills and understand the processes involved in setting up a successful business.

Fiona Godsman, chief executive of SIE, said: “Scotland has been home to great innovators for many years, and this year’s competition has shown us that there are young people out there who really are the innovators of the future.

“The entries we received showed great ingenuity, and we hope that they will inspire other young people across the country to get thinking about their business ideas. We are all really excited to see what the future holds for the five young business brains who have been awarded the prize.”

Fergus Ewing MSP, The Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, said “I wish to offer my congratulations to all of the winners of the inaugural Young Innovators Challenge award and I am particular pleased with the calibre of those candidates shortlisted.

“The Scottish Government is actively encouraging a culture of creativity and entrepreneurship amongst our young innovators.

“The Young Innovators Challenge, which is supported by industry representatives across a number of key sectors, will support the winners in turning their business ideas into reality by providing cash and ‘in kind’ business support and I wish them every success in their future endeavours.”

Michelle Kinnaird, investment director at the Scottish Investment Bank, said: “We’re delighted to have been part of this important programme, helping to encourage young people to become entrepreneurs.

“As one of the three judges I was really impressed by the variety and quality of the finalists and by the enthusiasm and creativity shown by the entire group. Events like this are an encouraging indicator of how Scotland can continue to produce innovative growth companies with excellent potential for national and international growth.”

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