Young Scots tackle energy challenges at Pitchfest

Young Scots tackle energy challenges at Pitchfest

Three teams of young Scots are preparing to go head-to-head at Venturefest Scotland this week, where they will pitch their ideas to tackle future energy challenges.

The teams - Volts and Jolts, Girl Power, and Fishing for Fusion - were the finalists at VentureJam 2017, the youth strand of Venturefest Scotland, which took place in August at Glasgow Science Centre. All entrants are aged between 14 and 20.

Now in its third year, the innovative event, which is delivered by Young Scot and Glasgow City of Science and Innovation, attracted a record number of applicants.

This year the organisers set a challenge of re-purposing existing products and technology to develop new ways of using energy more sustainably. The challenge was set against the backdrop of Scottish Government’s ambitious vision for the future energy system in Scotland, as laid down in the draft Scottish Energy Strategy.

The teams came up ideas such as genetically modified moss that glows to reduce the need for energy-guzzling street lights, an overhaul of the sewage system combining existing clean energy technologies, and a personal energy tracker app which promotes positive behaviour change around energy use by rewarding good behaviour. 

The ‘Jam’ was supported by a team of high profile mentors from the world of TV, gaming, product design, and digital media, as well as top entrepreneurship experts and energy gurus.

The young people worked in groups to generate their best ideas before presenting these to the rest of the VentureJam participants in a friendly competition.

The finalist teams are now preparing to pitch their game-changing ideas, ‘Dragon’s Den’ style, to top innovation experts at Venturefest Scotland on Wednesday 20 September. The winners will receive an investment prize from Social Investment Scotland, and a unique face-to-face VIP session with renowned Scottish entrepreneur and games guru, Chris van der Kuyl. Van der Kuyl, whose company is working on console editions of Minecraft for Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, will share his best advice for young aspiring entrepreneurs with the lucky winners.

The team’s pitches will form part of the Pitchfest! stream of Venturefest, where delegates will have the opportunity to learn how to pitch, find out why pitching matters, see how others pitch, and learn what potential funders might want to know.

Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “The enthusiasm demonstrated by all participants shows that, if we can capitalise on the ingenuity of our young people, Scotland can, and will, remain a world leader in renewable energy for many years to come, and I look forward to hearing more about the winner at the final of VentureFest.”