“I would highly recommend anyone who is thinking of entering Fresh Ideas to do it, because of the whole journey – the things they’ll learn, people they’ll meet and the awards they could win.”
Martina Zupan, 2017-18 winner
The word “entrepreneur” carries with it a lot of associations in pop culture and not all of them positive. You might hear it and think of someone who completely did your head in on the Apprentice, Gordon Gekko or someone like Ayn Rand. To be an entrepreneur is just about making money, “greed is good”, and you might easily think “that’s just not me at all.” Who would blame you?
Away from reality tv and fiction though, things are thankfully a lot brighter. Right here in Scotland, people are using entrepreneurship and enterprise skills to change things for the better by tackling problems they see in the world around them and their local communities. More and more young people are challenging the cliche that entrepreneurs are privileged white men in expensive suits who are just in it for themselves.
Enterprise skills can be tools for starting something positive and making an impact. And it doesn’t take a degree in a business subject or family money, just a good idea and the right opportunity. So what’s happening out there?
Martina Zupan came up with brand new biodegradable packaging using egg shells that can replace plastic and other non-sustainable materials and has the potential to make a huge impact.
Saskia Goeres’s Sofa for Life is a sustainably produced couch which is designed to be easily repaired and updated to suit the owner over the years. The model shows how the principles of the circular economy can be applied without sacrificing quality, and is designed to help reduce one of the UKs biggest contributions to landfill waste.
Thomas Bayne has started a company offering paid employment to people with additional support needs in Tayside which tackles inclusivity and could be expanded to other regions.
Up in the Highlands, Anna Renouf is developing a new saddle design to help improve animal welfare.
These are just a few examples, all of which benefited from business competitions run by the Scottish Institute for Enterprise.
Fresh Ideas is a perfect starting point for students and graduates with ideas they want to investigate and see if they can take things further. Fresh Ideas levels the playing field so that everyone has a chance of making a difference. Entrants have the opportunity to win cash prizes and support from a £20k prize package as well as receive free one to one coaching from an SIE Advisor. All you need to enter is an idea. No business plan is needed.
Want to make a difference? This is your chance. What will you start?
Stage 1 of Fresh Ideas runs until the end of January 2019. Students at any Scottish university or college, or those who have graduated within the last two years, can submit ideas. Enter at: www.sie.ac.uk/freshideas
Supported by SIE