Media Release: Student innovators win funding to develop new ideas with social impact

1st prize winners

SOME of Scotland’s brightest young innovators gathered at a special retreat in Loch Lomond on 25-26 June for the final of the ’I’m an Innovator’ competition.

Recognising the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design and Scotland’s historical role in social innovation, the competition sought to inspire the next generation of social entrepreneurs by challenging students in colleges and universities to come up with new ideas which would have a positive social impact.

Over 100 entries were received, with entrants completing a number of stages before reaching the final. Fourteen ideas were represented in this final stage of the competition, ranging from new products and services to improve social inclusion, education and innovative products to improve general health and fitness or manage medical conditions.

The finalists worked on their ideas over the weekend, before making their final pitches to a panel of young social entrepreneurs; Fergus Moore and Scott Kennedy (Revive ECO), and Stephen Spiers (Studio2080, Power a Life).

The final winners of the ‘I’m an Innovator’ competition are:

First prize: £1,000

Alex Rollings and Alison Cunningham, University of Strathclyde
Winning entry: Innobox, which uses storytelling and problem solving to encourage a child’s interest in STEM subjects.

Second prize: £750

Glen McMurchy, University of Strathclyde
Winning entry:  A new modular design for wind towers.

Third prize: £500

Liam McMorrow, University of Aberdeen,
Winning entry: A new device to help diabetics manage insulin dosages.

Highly Commended: £250

Simon Griffiths, Edinburgh College
Idea: A support package to help young people cope with renal dialysis.

Highly Commended: £250

Heather Guyan, University of Strathclyde
Idea: An innovative ‘ear defender’ to support learning in special needs environments.

Highly Commended: £250

David White, University of Strathclyde
Idea: A new bodyweight fitness training product.

Commenting on the competition, Bob Keiller, chair of Scottish Enterprise and former chief executive of the Wood Group, said: “Business can have a tremendous positive impact in tackling social issues.

“It’s incredibly important that our next generation understands this and is encouraged and empowered to make Scotland a better place for the future. This initiative from SIE is a wonderful example of this in action; challenging our young people to look at the world around them and see how they can help.”

Fiona Godsman, CEO of SIE, continued: “The competition has been a fantastic experience and we’re delighted to have had such a good response from students. The quality of the finalists ideas and pitches was outstanding and SIE will continue to work with all of the finalists and make sure they get the help and support they need to develop their ideas.”

Pictured: Alex Rollings and Alison Cunningham receive the ‘I’m an Innovator’ competition top prize from Fiona Godsman, CEO of SIE.

(Please contact SIE for pictures of any of the other winners).

Notes for 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:

2) I’m an Innovator competition

The Im an Innovator competition recognises that Scotland is a nation of innovative thinkers, creating inventions and making discoveries that have changed the world. What will be the next big thing? As part of Scotland’s year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, SIE is challenging Scotland’s students to come up with ideas for businesses, social enterprises, products or services which could make a difference to how people live in Scotland and have real social impact.

3) Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016 is a Scottish Government initiative led by VisitScotland to highlight, celebrate and promote Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a series of exciting events and activities.

4) Competition finalists

The other competition finalists who successfully made it to the ‘I’m an Innovator’ Bootcamp and pitched to the panel of judges were:

  • Alice Kettle, Edinburgh College of Art
  • Susan Drummond and Kirsty Johnson, University of Strathclyde
  • Robin Irvine and Ciorstaidh MacGillvray, University of St Andrews
  • Thomas Reid, University of the West of Scotland
  • Karthik Ramesh, Glasgow School of Art
  • Jonny Ingledew and Kate MacDonald, Heriot-Watt University
  • Hui Chi Yan, University of Edinburgh
  • Alina Mikhailova, University of Edinburgh.


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SIE contact details…

Contact: Scott McKellar
Phone: 01415353190