Media Release: Scotland’s next entrepreneurial stars challenged to take the first steps with New Ventures!


THE next generation of Scotland’s entrepreneurial leaders still has time to take what could be an important first step to success.

The Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE)’s New Ventures competition closes for entries this year on January 28th.

For many of Scotland’s brightest stars, the competition has been an important start of their entrepreneurial journey and helped stand them in good stead for further success, opening up opportunities with larger-scale competitions and investment.

Winners will join competition alumni including Christopher McCann (Snap40), and Amanda Day (All Day Designs), both of whom recently won big in the round seven final of the Scottish EDGE, securing £30,000 and £75,000 respectively.

The competition process helps entrants work on their business, be it an idea at an advanced stage or a business that has launched in the last two years, and articulate their business successfully  through a focused strategy and pitch, skills which will help them gain future investment.

The top prize of £10,000 is sponsored by Bank of Scotland. Commenting on the competition sponsorship Gary Newton, regional manager (Scotland), Retail Business Division, said: “Bank of Scotland is delighted to continue to support SIE’s New Ventures Competition. Scotland’s students are full of innovative ideas and support at this early stage will help them grow into the business leaders of tomorrow. We’re very proud to be part of that.”

Joining the main competition prizes this year are a number of additional awards. The PG Ventures award from Enterprise Campus offers £1,500 for postgraduate students with high growth potential ventures, and the What IF award from Innovation Forum will provide £1,000 and the opportunity to pitch to investors at the global WhatIF accelerator competition in Cambridge in September.

Speaking about the Enterprise Campus support, Natasha Lobley, enterprise executive at Enterprise Campus, said:

“Scotland has a long history of encouraging innovation, and our universities continue to produce a wealth of entrepreneurial individuals. Enterprise Campus is proud to be able to support a postgraduate award in SIE’s New Venture’s competition for a second year.”

Harsh Vaidya, founder, Innovation Forum Edinburgh, continued:

“The Innovation Forum is excited to be supporting SIE’s New Ventures Competition as a part of our strategy to help innovative Scottish companies grow and succeed.”

The New Ventures Competition closes for entries on January 28th. Finalists will pitch to judges on March 12th and the winners will be announced at the SIE Student Enterprise Summit on March 23rd 2016.


Picture: Last year’s NVC winners and their prizes at the SIE Student Enterprise Summit 2015, with Sammy Jo Gardner from Bank of Scotland. (L to R, Sammy Jo Gardner, Victoria Hamilton – VH Innovation Ltd, Christopher McCann – Snap40, Amanda Day – All Day Designs Ltd, David Hunter – Shot Scope Technologies Ltd, Dr Mallika Punukollu – winner of Enterprise Campus Award for best idea from postgraduate research).

Notes to editors:

1) SIE

The Scottish Institute for Enterprise is the national organisation for the promotion and support of enterprise and entrepreneurship in Scotland’s students. SIE works with Universities and Colleges to champion enterprise education and help their students start new innovative businesses. SIE provides free one-to-one advice, enterprise workshops and business competitions supported by a national team of student interns and business advisors. SIE’s services are open to all students and graduates in Scotland, up to two years after graduation. SIE is supported by the Scottish Funding Council and Scottish Enterprise and is part of the Scotland CAN DO framework.

In the last academic year over 6,000 students took part in enterprise workshops run by SIE in Scotland’s colleges and universities.

For more information about SIE, go to: www.sie.ac.uk

2) The SIE New Ventures Competition

SIE’s New Ventures Competition is designed for business ideas that are at an advanced stage of development or that have launched within the last two years. Students or graduates within two years of graduation can enter for a chance to win a top prize of £10,000, sponsored by Bank of Scotland.

During the process of the competition, entrants will work on their ideas further with the assistance of SIE advisors at a special Exploration Weekend in February and work towards pitching their business to a panel of expert judges in early March.

The winners will be announced at the SIE Student Enterprise Summit on March 23rd 2016.


Close of Entries – 28 January
Exploration Weekend – 20-21 February
Finalists pitch to judges – 12 March
Winners announced – 23 March

Many winners of the New Ventures competition go on to successfully pitch for additional investment.

3) The NVC prizes

The 2016 New Ventures Competition prizes are:

1st – £10,000 sponsored by Bank of Scotland
2nd – £5,000
3rd - £1,000

PG Ventures award, sponsored by Enterprise Campus.  £1,500 for postgraduate students with high growth potential ventures.

What IF award from Innovation Forum Edinburgh. £1,000 and the opportunity to pitch at the Global Innovation Forum competition in Cambridge (UK) in September.

4) Bank of Scotland

Bank of Scotland is committed to supporting the needs of Scottish businesses and to helping the people and businesses of Scotland prosper. From start-ups to global exporters, we provide the services and support required from your bank to match your ambitions. When it comes to our commitment to your business, we don’t take a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Access to the right resources is crucial and our website is packed full of information to help you navigate a course through the current climate. We have dedicated guides, expert guidance and real life business stories. For more information on Bank of Scotland, visit:


5) Enterprise Campus

Enterprise Campus is a joint initiative between the universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Strathclyde to support postgraduate students from any Scottish university who want to set up their own business Funded by the Scottish Funding Council, Enterprise Campus is a free and impartial service offering support for businesses at all stages – from funding, business plan feedback and IP advice, to events and one-to-one clinics. No matter where a postgraduate student studies in Scotland, Enterprise Campus can help explore the possibility of becoming an entrepreneur and launching a high-growth business.


6) Innovation Forum

The Innovation Forum (IF) was started at the University of Cambridge in 2012, to connect grassroots scientists with industry, investment and policy leaders. The Edinburgh branch of IF, set up in 2014, is run by young researchers from the University of Edinburgh. IF’s main aim is to forward inventions, developed by top scientists and engineers at leading institutes, towards industry, investors and policy makers. Access to a global network of young researchers allows IF to break traditional silos between disciplines and within science fields, which can result in disruptive technologies and new collaborations. IF aims to be the accelerator for high-tech start-ups globally and attract the world’s leading start-ups and entrepreneurs to its global branches.


7) Snap40

Founded by University of Strathclyde medical student, Christopher McCann, snap40 detects the warning signs of patient deterioration using a wearable medical device and sophisticated algorithmic and statistical techniques.


8) All Day Designs

All Day Designs is a Scottish-based design company founded by University of Strathclyde graduate Amanda Day. It specialises in creating new and innovative travel solutions for children on the go. All Day Designs first product, branded ‘The Caterpillar’ was developed to address the difficulties and daily challenges encountered by the designer, a mother herself, when walking with her one and a half year-old son.

9) The Scottish EDGE competition

Scottish EDGE is a competition aimed at identifying and supporting Scotland’s up-and-coming, innovative, high-growth potential entrepreneurial talent. The main prize is up to £100,000 funding, with additional categories offering a range of prizes up to £150,000.


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SIE contact details…

Contact: Scott McKellar
Phone: 01415353190
Email: s.mckellar@sie.ac.uk
Website: http://www.sie.ac.uk