Enterprising students win funding to grow businesses

Enterprising students win funding to grow businesses

Student entrepreneurs from across Scotland picked up awards and heard from inspirational business figures at the country’s only enterprise event for students.

The annual Student Enterprise Summit was hosted by the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) – the national organisation for supporting enterprise in Scotland’s universities and colleges – and took place at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh.

The final winners of SIE’s student enterprise competitions, Fresh Ideas and New Ventures, were announced on stage. Out of 350 entries, 30 pitched to a panel of expert judges and eight business ideas were awarded a total prize fund of more than £20,000.

The top prize of £10,000, sponsored by Bank of Scotland, was awarded to University of Strathclyde Business Enterprise and Marketing graduate, Paul McGinley, for his idea Pyramid WiFi. Pyramid is a pocket-sized WiFi box that unlocks internet connections, meaning users can access sites that limit access based on location, such as well-known video streaming sites.

Paul said: “I couldn’t believe it when Pyramid was announced as the winning idea. It’s great to receive recognition from such a well-respected competition within the startup scene. The prize money will be a great help towards launching Pyramid.”

Fiona Godsman, chief executive of event organisers SIE, said: “The Student Enterprise Summit is a fantastic opportunity for young people across the country to meet like-minded people and to hear the inspirational stories of successful Scottish business figures and learn how an idea can grow into a success.

“It was a great event, celebrating strong, unique business ideas and we hope ambitious students have learned how they can develop their own enterprise skills. These skills are so important in today’s competitive landscape for boosting employability, fostering innovation and bringing value to organisations.”

Attendees also had the unique opportunity of hearing personal success stories from top Scottish business talent including TV personality and CEO of DiaryDoll, Carol Smillie; Andrew Dobbie, co-founder of marketing agency Made Brave; Justene Ewing, CEO of the Digital Health and Care Institute (DHI); Becky Woodhouse, CEO of PURE Spa and Beauty and last year’s winner of the New Ventures competition, Chris McCann, CEO of healthcare technology firm, snap40.

Carol Smillie said: “I knew very little about the business world, and absolutely nothing about bringing a product to market when I launched DiaryDoll two years ago. That being said, there is lots of help available in Scotland if you know who to ask.

“The Scottish Institute for Enterprise has a strong network of experts who can help provide support and advice to you along the way so If you’re a student with a business idea, there’s no time like the present to get the ball rolling.”