The call has come for the third annual ‘Young Innovators Challenge’, which opens for entries from throughout Scotland this morning.
This year’s competition tasks young people to come up with social ideas that will help to tackle big issues faced by society. Categories for the competition are:
- Healthcare and wellbeing
- Green and sustainable energy resources
- Smarter communities and infrastructure
Ultimately, 30 winning entries will each receive £2,000 as well as hands-on advice from some of Scotland’s leading businesses to help them develop their ideas over the summer.
The winners will have the opportunity to return in August to pitch their ideas to judges for additional funding of up to £5,000.
Fiona Godsman, chief executive of competition organisers, Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE), said: “Last year’s Young Innovators Challenge saw more than 350 entries from young people from a range of backgrounds and disciplines.
“This year, we again welcome ideas from young people studying at colleges, universities or those taking part in apprenticeships.
“2015 will once again focus on social innovation in Scotland. We want to provide budding entrepreneurs the support, encouragement and advice necessary to put their ideas into action to solve some of society’s biggest problems.
“An idea doesn’t necessarily have to be fully fleshed out – we can help you develop it and take it to the next stage.”
A winner last year was University of Strathclyde graduate Chris McCann, who created a potentially life-saving wrist band – ‘snap40’ – which monitors hospital patients’ vital signs and sends out an SOS if it detects early warning signs of heart attacks, stroke and other illnesses.
The concept has completed prototype stages and is now raising significant investment to take it to trials.
Chris said: “Being a Young Innovators Challenge winner in 2014 has been instrumental in helping me take forward the snap40 concept to the point where we’re now looking to trial the wristbands in NHS hospitals in the next 12 months.
“The competition provided fantastic support and guidance to the business. As well as it being a good opportunity to discuss ideas and problems, I developed a number of extremely useful contacts that have proven invaluable to my company.”
Annabelle Ewing, Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment, said: “Now in its third year, this award is a fantastic opportunity for young people from all academic backgrounds to come up with innovative ideas that could go on to change lives in a wide range of sectors.
“Last year’s competition showed that an entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Scotland, building on our rich history of invention and innovation. I would encourage anyone with an exciting idea to enter this year and potentially make a difference in the lives of others.”
Entries for this year’s Young Innovators Challenge can be submitted online from today until April 8th 2015. Individual and team entries will be accepted.
Up to 150 entrants will be invited to a special social innovation development weekend event in April.