Young innovators given head start in top business challenge

Sir Tom Hunter is supporting the competition.
Sir Tom Hunter is supporting the competition.

BUDDING young entrepreneurs in Cumbernauld and Kilsyth are being given the chance to get ahead in a unique business start-up competition with a £300,000 prize fund.

The Young Innovators Challenge – run by Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) on behalf of the Scottish Government – is a national competition which will challenge 18 to 24 year olds to come up with solutions to a range of issues currently facing Scotland’s key industries.

To get the creative juices flowing those looking to enter are encouraged to sign up for one of four Challenge Labs taking place in Inverness, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen in February which will give them the best chance possible of winning one of the six cash prizes up for grabs.

During the Challenge Labs participants will view videos explaining each of the industry challenges being set by industry leaders.

The sessions will also offer networking opportunities and the chance to find out more about running a business.

Fiona Godsman, SIE CEO, said: “The Young Innovators Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for Scotland’s young business minds. The competition is unique in that entrants are being asked to come up with a solution to a real industry problem rather than simply submit their own business idea.

“We’re looking to find Scotland’s business leaders of the future. By taking part in the competition participants will be given the chance to develop business and entrepreneurial skills as well as gain an understanding of how to set up and run a business.

“The regional Challenge Labs are designed to teach participants how to come up with great ideas that they can take forward into the later stages of the competition. They are not a compulsory part of the application process, but I’d highly recommend taking part in them.”

Entries to the competition will open soon with participants creating a business solution for one of a number of key challenges.

The sectors include energy (oil, gas and renewables), technology/engineering, built environment, textiles and food and drink.

The entrant with the best idea in each category will win up to £50,000 to develop their idea and launch a business plus a year’s dedicated business support.

Scottish businessman Sir Tom Hunter is supporting the competition.

He said: “Innovation is fundamental to Scotland’s future and we need to be driving that message home to the next generation of entrepreneurs.

“The Young Innovators Challenge seeks to really drive new thinking and innovation from our young Scottish people and that’s why I’d encourage every final year student to take a look at it and ask themselves could I be the next one to succeed? Your country needs your innovation, so let’s get going!”

The competition is open to those in their final year of college or university in Scotland, or those taking part in a national programme or studying for a Modern Apprenticeship.

Winners will be announced in the summer of 2013.

The Challenge Labs are free to attend and will last from 10am to 4pm.

Dates are as follows Doubletrees (Hilton) hotel, Aberdeen on February 16, Apex International hotel, Edinburgh on February 16, UHI Inverness, Inverness on February 20 and Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow on February 23.

Places are limited and must be booked in advance, so students are encouraged to sign-up today to secure a place: http://yicchallengelabs.eventbrite.com

For more information on the Young Innovators Challenge please visit http://www.sie.ac.uk/about-sie/sie-activities/young-innovators-challenge.aspx.