Business guru urges young Scots to sign up for enterprise competition

Thursday, 21 March 2013

LEADING Scottish businessman Shaf Rasul is urging final year Scottish students to sign up to entrepreneurial competition the Young Innovators Challenge by April 8th and benefit from free business advice.

IT and property entrepreneur, Shaf, who appeared on the online version of Dragon’s Den, is backing the competition, run by Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) on behalf of the Scottish Government. The competition will offer six budding business minds up to £50,000 of support each for their new venture, as well as a year’s worth of business advice.

He’s keen that eligible young people complete stage one of the application by April 8th and receive a one-to-one session with an SIE business advisor who will help them with the rest of the application.

Shaf said: “I know how tough it is to set up your own business and it’s being made even harder at the moment with banks refusing to lend to most start-ups. Winning such a substantial level of support through the Young Innovators Challenge will be life changing to a new business – I only wish it had been available when I left university.

“It is vital entrants utilise the business support on offer and get the initial application in by April 8th in order to make good use of SIE’s free business advice.

“It’s never been harder for students to make the transition from the classroom to the career ladder which is why they should embrace competitions like this. Even if you just have the seed of an idea, SIE will help you turn this into a fully-fledged business plan. Scotland has produced so many fantastic inventors and business people over the years and through competitions such as this we will hopefully nurture our future entrepreneurs and business leaders.”

The Young Innovators Challenge is a national competition open to final year students aged 18-24 years old. The competition is challenging them to develop a business idea that is inspired by the issues facing Scotland's growth sectors. 

The competition categories include: oil and gas, renewable energy, built environment, food and drink and textiles. The entrant with the best idea in each category will win up to £50,000 of support to develop their idea plus a year’s dedicated business support.

Up to three short-listed entrants in each category will go forward to an intensive four day business boot camp taking place in Dundee in June which will help hone entrants’ business skills.

Shaf added: “Even for those who don’t win the boot camp will equip them with valuable business skills which will be hugely beneficial to whatever they go on to do. Not to mention looking great on their CV.”

SIE CEO Fiona Godsman said: “The Young Innovators Challenge is a fantastic way to boost new business development and innovative ideas from Scotland’s final year students. The winners have the full year to develop their business idea and will get lots of support to help them do this with advisors on hand every step of the way. It really is a dream prize for those looking to set up on their own.”

Entries to the competition will be accepted up until May 31st. A series of videos outlining the different challenges faced by Scotland’s key industries are also available to watch on the Young Innovators Challenge YouTube page. View at:

To enter the Young Innovators Challenge please visit:


Note to editors:

Young Innovators Challenge:

The Young Innovators Challenge is a competition aimed at finding Scotland's innovators of tomorrow.

The prize fund is provided by theScottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council (SFC). The SFC is the national, strategic body that is responsible for funding teaching and learning provision, research and other activities in Scotland's colleges and universities and higher education institutions.

Participation in the process will provide opportunities to develop business and entrepreneurial skills as well as gain an understanding of how to set up and run a business. Entrants are challenged with coming up with an idea for a new business in one of five key industry sectors in Scotland. Inspiration and additional supporting information is provided on the competition website. Finalists will be invited to pitch their idea to a panel of industry and business experts for the chance to win up to £50,000 of support to help develop their idea after graduation and a year of business support.


Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE):

The Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) is a national organisation for promoting and supporting enterprise and entrepreneurship in Scotland's universities. SIE turns students into entrepreneurs by engaging them in a variety of activities that inspire and encourage those who may never have thought about starting a business before, and by developing and supporting those who are taking their first steps as entrepreneurs.