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We’ve come to the end of the 2015-16 academic year and what a busy year it’s been! This week we’re reflecting on the past year and rounding up the highlights in preparation for the year ahead.

The new SIE interns started in September 2015 in institutions all across Scotland including six of Scotland’s colleges. They were busy championing entrepreneurship, promoting our enterprise competitions and hosting local events throughout the year.

Also in September, we invited students to join us at RNIB’s Techshare Europe 2015 along with 300 attendees including Samsung, Google and Apple! We ran a live innovation lab over the two days, where students worked directly with blind and partially-sighted people and industry experts to generate creative solutions to challenges.

Our competitions kicked off for another year with Fresh Ideas launching in October. There are four chances to win with prizes of £500, £250 & £100 each month (Oct – Jan). All monthly winners & highly commended entries had the chance to attend Exploration Day in February 2016 and pitch for a top prize of £1,000

fresh ideas

In March we held our Student Enterprise Summit in Edinburgh with hundreds of students, entrepreneurs and members of the support community coming together under one roof.  It was a day packed with inspiration and advice! We heard real-life business stories and put questions to the entrepreneurs who have been there and done it. Throughout the day, students were invited to browse our enterprise fair and pose for selfies in the photo booth.


The Summit also incorporated the SIE Annual Awards where we crowned our Interns of the Year and announced the winners of Fresh ideas and New Ventures.

This year also saw the launch of our brand new social enterprise competition, I’m an Innovator. We launched back in February, with students entering their ideas online, and being selected by judges and invited to a one day workshop, and then to a residential Bootcamp where they had the opportunity to improve their enterprise skills and pitch to judges for £1000.  Read more about the I’m an Innovator Bootcamp and winners here.

We also launched four new case studies in the ‘I’m an Entrepreneur’ series. You can see videos from MindMate, Toni (Saunt & Sinner), Amanda (All Day Designs) and Geared App as well as posters and written case studies here. All are packed full of inspiring stories of how they transformed their ideas into business ventures.

IAE 2016

Phew, It’s been a busy one! As this academic year comes to an end, we are reflecting on all that’s been achieved by SIE entrepreneurs and looking forward to welcoming our brand new team of interns in the coming weeks – make sure to look out for them on campus!

The winners of SIE’s ‘I’m an Innovator’ competition gathered at Loch Lomond last weekend for the Winners Bootcamp to take their innovation ideas from concept to reality.

Over 100 entries were received back in April, with entrants completing an application, attending an innovation workshop and submitting a challenging video pitch before reaching the final. 14 ideas were represented in this final stage of the competition, ranging from new products and services to improve social inclusion, education and innovative products to improve general health & fitness or manage medical conditions.

Kicking things off on Saturday morning was Mel Sherwood, Director of Grow Your Potential, who delivered a talk covering a wide range of relevant topics, from taking ownership of your idea to presentation skills, and vocal warm up exercises.

The afternoon session was led by Xpand founder, Juergen Kast, and focussed on developing entrepreneurial skills and strengths to drive your idea forward, which roused some further questions from the captive audience of winners.

The finalists worked on their ideas over the weekend, before making their final pitches to a panel of young social entrepreneurs (and SIE alumni!); Fergus Moore & Scott Kennedy co-founders of Revive Eco and Stephen Spiers co-founder of Studio2080 and Power a Life.


 CEO Fiona Godsman with Scott Kennedy (left), Stephen Spiers (center) and Fergus Moore (right.)

 The final winners of the ‘I’m an Innovator’ Competition are:

1st prize: £1000, Alex Rollings & Alison Cunningham, University of Strathclyde

Winning entry: Innobox, which uses storytelling and problem solving to encourage a child’s interest in STEM subjects.

 2nd Prize: £750, Glen McMurchy, University of Strathclyde

Winning entry: A new modular design for wind towers.

3rd Prize: £500, Liam McMorrow, University of Aberdeen,

Winning entry: A new device to help diabetics manage insulin dosages.

Highly Commended: £250, Simon Griffiths, Edinburgh College

Idea: A support package to help young people cope with renal dialysis.

Highly Commended: £250, Heather Guyan, University of Strathclyde

Idea: An innovative ‘ear defender’ to support learning in special needs environments.

Highly Commended: £250, David White, University of Strathclyde

Idea: A new bodyweight fitness training product.


The competition finalists who pitched to judges were:

  •  Alice Kettle, Edinburgh College of Art
  • Susan Drummond & Kirsty Johnson, University of Strathclyde
  • Robin Irvine and Ciorstaidh MacGillivray, University of St Andrews
  • Thomas Reid, University of the West of Scotland
  • Karthik Ramesh, Glasgow School of Art
  • Jonny Ingledew & Kate MacDonald, Heriot-Watt University
  • Hui Chi Yan, University of Edinburgh
  • Alina Mikhailova, University of Edinburgh.

Well done everyone – we can’t wait to see how your winning ideas progress!

The thirty eight winners of the Young Innovators Challenge 2015 were announced in May following a detailed application, an inspiring Innovation Weekend and a challenging video pitch. The winners gathered in Dundee last week for the Winners Bootcamp to take their social innovation ideas from concept to reality.

YIC2015 Bootcamp Collage

The three day residential Bootcamp started with some yoga breathing techniques and a round of speed networking to get everyone in the right mind frame for the busy day ahead. The opening session was led by two of SIE’s Business and Innovation Advisors, Dawn Shand and Jonathan Tait who highlighted the importance of continually scanning and adapting to the external environment. Historical examples of Amazon and Tesco were used to bring some life into the well-used PESTLE analysis which was aptly followed by Jane Ambrose, from Inspiring Futures, who delivered a comprehensive session on finance.

Next up was a speaker that the budding entrepreneurs could easily identify with. Christopher McCann, of snap40, was in the same position as each of them this time last year after winning the Young Innovators Challenge 2014. Christopher now works on his business full time, employs several staff members and has secured £160,000 worth of funding. He talked about his journey and the importance of resilience when trying to implement social change, and there was a queue of students waiting to ask questions at the end.

A special appearance was made by STV Dundee who interviewed some of the local YIC 2015 winners and BBC Scotland arrived to broadcast a radio segment with SIE CEO, Fiona Godsman.

For the rest of the day, Lesley Hetherington supported the winners as they reviewed their Business Model Canvas with a flurry of post-it notes and animated discussions before the winners headed off to distil their ideas over dinner.

The SIE team kicked off day two with a CreAction session to underline the benefits of working in diverse groups for effective problem solving. Maryanne Johnston followed to share her expertise on pitching, which is an invaluable skill for start-ups looking for funding.

A flurry of questions and lively debate from the group was sparked by a talk from another inspiring young entrepreneur, Mason Holden (co-founder of Bike Vault), as he introduced his revolutionary bicycle storage bundle.

Alastair Blake and Cameron Walker from Marks and Clerk delivered a critical session for the winners who have already begun the process of protecting the commercial value of their idea while the rest of the day was devoted to honing the Value Proposition Canvas in preparation for pitching the next day. The winners then had a well-deserved opportunity to relax and enjoy the hotel spa facilities.

The third morning started with each student delivering a 60 second pitch to a panel of SIE Senior Business and Innovation Advisors who will become the student’s key SIE contacts over the coming months. The quality of pitches was exceptional and each one was delivered with passion and confidence in their idea.

With the pitches out the way, Tom McGuire led a session to encourage the winners to devise the next steps to take their ideas forward over the coming months.

Dr Paul Nelson, Founder and CEO of Phrisk – a public health consultancy, delivered a talk that covered a wide range of relevant topics, from mindset to team building which roused some further questions from the captive audience of winners.

Last in the line-up was Norma Collete, who dazzled the students with an interactive session on building and tapping into your networks which capped off a fantastic Bootcamp experience for the YIC 2015 winners.

The final act of the day was to present the winners with their prizes of up to £2000 each. The prize money will allow each student to continue to develop their socially innovative business ideas over the summer with the dedicated support of the Senior Business &Innovation Advisors, and two further workshops.

There will be an opportunity to pitch for further funding of up to £5000 in August, and we can’t wait to see how the winning ideas develop till then!

During November, SIE were invited by Design Lecturer, Helena Good to engage with students at Edinburgh College in an innovative, multi-agency project which set out to give students a real life taste of enterprise. Enterprise Assistant, Daniel Quinn, explains SIE’s involvement.

The project played host to 19 students and one external agency, Scottish Soapworks; an organisation who prides themselves on using the best organic and sustainable ingredients in their soaps, oils and other bath products. Through catchy branding and personalized packages, they have one of the most diverse selections of goods available in the market.

Edinburgh College and Soapworks designed the project to challenge students to develop and sell natural and sustainable bathroom products for an upcoming Christmas sale with the profits funding their final year degree show. The groups began by constructing a marketing campaign, highlighting how their product would look and outlining the customers which they hoped to attract. Various ideas were pitched to Soapworks, all of which showed great promise and creativity but eventually two were selected to take their campaigns forward. The additional teams were filtered into the two winners; ‘Team Dirty’ and ‘Team Pick N Mix’.

It was at this stage that SIE entered to help students identify the roles which they could play within these two new teams, stressing the importance of collaboration and playing to strengths when implementing an idea.

As the students began to map out their projects they were prompted to consider their targeted customers and routes to the market using the Business Model Canvas. What became evident almost immediately was the disparity in both business models, each targeting different customers with different values to their product. Team Dirty used a guerrilla advertising campaign, whimsical marketing material and a target audience of students. This differed vastly from the elegance of the Pick N Mix products, designed as a luxury Christmas or Birthday gift. Both teams represented different values and separate markets but both were able to articulate how they may be able to create and deliver that value to their customer.

As the session drew to a close both teams had managed to successfully utilise the skills their learned and existing information to action plan future steps. The success of this particular workshop can be largely accredited to the energy and involvement which the students of Edinburgh College brought to the delivery, creating a very valuable and dynamic platform where they were free to experiment and adapt their ideas.

Student Rachel Cameron, part of the Pick n Mix team later entered the product into SIEs ‘Fresh Ideas’ competition and saw herself and her team mates pick up a Highly Commended national prize in December;

It’s really nice to see the finished product come together from our designs and it was good to be involved in the whole development process from the start. Pitching the product was nerve wracking but it’s made us much more confident in presenting our work… With the help of the Scottish Institute for Enterprise and their Business Model Canvas we also learned lots about product logistics like legal requirements, ingredients and pricing, which we didn’t have much of understanding of before. That’s really helped us think about the practical side when we’re designing, so we’re not just making products look nice.”


Fantastic #inspirationalideas on food and drink from our OU SIE Intern, Lux.

Enterprise goes Everywhere

IMG_1927Hi Friends, here is the second to last post I’ll do about Mexico. Food and Drink style!

The SIE Young Innovators Challenge has a Food and Drink category. So what better time to talk about that which is best in all the world – Food glorious glorious food!

Where we are lends shape to our tastes and fuels the demand for the businesses we start. This is the same all over the world.

SO it’s easy to forget that entrepreneurship doesn’t *have* to be local or use local products – unless we want it to! We are not bound to the market on our doorstep, nor are we bound to produce or enjoy only that which is found on our own turf. IF we were then there would be FAR fewer coffee shops and chocolatiers indeed!

As corny as it sounds, the world is full of open doors, and the…

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The Young Innovators Challenge has been going at full steam ahead this week with promotional materials popping up in buses and trains across the country. Our Strathclyde Intern, Nicole Perry couldn’t believe her eyes when she spotted this on her way home from university. The competition deadline is less than 2 months away (31st May) so when the entrepreneurial train rolls into town jump on board, it is a competition not to be missed. With prizes of up to 50k and a year’s worth of business support to work on your idea you won’t want to lose out! If you’re in your final year of studies and between 18 -24 check out

YIC_background banner

Young Innovators Challenge

The Scottish Government wants to support new business development and innovative ideas from Scotland’s final year students and have launched The Young Innovators Challenge managed by the Scottish Institute for Enterprise. There are 6 prizes of up to £50,000 to be won and competition winners will also be guaranteed a years’ worth of business support to help develop their idea into a viable business after graduation.

Five key industry sectors have been selected by the government for this initiative: oil & gas; renewables; textiles; food & drink, and built environment. Students are invited to submit an idea for a new business in one of the sectors for a chance to win funding and support to take their idea forward. Ideas out with those sectors can be entered into a General category.

The ideas will be judged by industry experts and, on graduating, the winner from each category could receive up to £50,000 funding and a year’s business support to develop their idea for a new business or social enterprise. Shortlisted entrants (3 per category) will be invited to attend a 4 day residential bootcamp (an intensive experience to develop business skills.)

Five Challenge Videos have been produced to help inspire new ideas. Each video provides an overview of the sector, opportunities and the challenges faced. These videos were debuted at Challenge Lab events in February and are now viewable online (at and on youtube: YIC2013challenges).

The competition web pages also include useful tips and guidance from the events and additional information to help you with your entry. If you complete the first stage of the application by April 8th you’ll be guaranteed a 1-to-1 meeting with a business advisor from SIE who’ll help you work on your idea! Entry is online from There are two parts to your entry and both parts must be complete by May 31st. If you complete the first part by April 8th, however, you’ll be guaranteed a one-to one meeting with an advisor from the Scottish Institute for Enterprise who will help you with your idea.

Scotland has produced some of the world’s greatest innovators and most enduring ideas. Are you up to the Challenge?

• See the YIC newsletter, for up-to-date information, tips and advice. Sign up at: –
• Follow the challenge on twitter: – twitter @YIC2013 (#inspirationalideas)
• Watch the Challenge videos on Youtube: -YIC2013challenges
• Like the challenge on Facebook : –

SIE_YIC Poster

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