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Friday, 08 February 2013

YOUNG business minds are being urged to get a head start in a national innovation competition before it’s too late.

Budding entrepreneurs who believe they have what it takes to be the next Duncan Bannatyne or Michelle Mone are encouraged to sign up to one of four Challenge Labs taking place throughout Scotland which will put them ahead of business competition – the Young Innovators Challenge.

Run by the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) on behalf of the Scottish Government, the Young Innovators Challenge comes with a £300,000 prize fund and is tasking 18-24 year olds in their final year of college, university or training, to come up with solutions to a range of issues currently facing Scotland’s key industries. 

Participants are encouraged to attend one of four Challenge Labs taking place in Inverness, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen this month. This will give competition hopefuls the best chance of winning one of the six cash prizes up for grabs.

The dynamic Challenge Labs will teach participants how to think creatively and develop potential business ideas. It will also give entrants the chance to view videos outlining the six industry challenges being set by the competition.

SIE CEO Fiona Godsman said: “For a relatively small country, Scotland has produced some of the greatest world’s minds and is home to some of the most significant inventions and discoveries of all time.

“We’re now looking to find the innovators of tomorrow. We’re looking to ignite excitement amongst young entrepreneurs and work with them to develop their business ideas.

“The regional Challenge Labs are a fantastic way to get ahead of the competition and will give participants the chance to develop new business techniques and learn how best to put their ideas into practice.  While not a compulsory part of the application process I would highly recommend taking part in a Challenge Lab.”

Entries to the competition will open on February 16th with participants creating a business solution for one of a number of key challenges affecting sectors such as: 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 business idea as well as a year’s dedicated business support.

Renowned 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!"

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 – February 16th 2013

Apex International hotel, Edinburgh – February 16th 2013

UHI Inverness, Inverness – February 20th 2013

Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow – February 23rd 2013

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/YIC




Note to editors:

Young Innovators Challenge:

The Young Innovators Challenge is a competition aimed at finding Scotland's innovators of tomorrow. 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 will be tasked with creating and designing innovative solutions to one of six challenges set by industry leaders. Finalists will be invited to pitch their ideas to a panel of industry and business experts for the chance to win up to £50k and a year of business support.

The prize has been developed in partnership between the Scottish Government, Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise. The project is being delivered by the Scottish Funding Council, through the Scottish Institute for Enterprise and in partnership with industry.  The Prize is supported by funding from the Scottish Government.

Challenge Lab attendees will receive a certificate for completing module 1 of SIE's Innovation Programme.  

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.

SIE runs high profile events, such as Regional Enterprise Days and an annual Student Enterprise Summit with great speakers.