Entries close on April 8 for the competition that tasks young people in Scotland to come up with business ideas to help address pressing social issues.
Now in its third year, 2015’s Young Innovators Challenge asks entrepreneurs to focus on the areas of healthcare and wellbeing, green and sustainable energy, and smarter communities and infrastructure.
The deadline for entries approaches as a new report from Barclays highlighting Scotland’s potential for high-growth businesses is published. In addition to more Scottish entrepreneurs finding larger profits in 2014 than the year prior, findings from the BGF Entrepreneurs Index show a 4% rise in the total number of enterprises in Scotland, which now total 157,000.
Fiona Godsman, chief executive for competition organisers, Scottish Institute for Enterprise, said: “Scotland has a strong support network for budding entrepreneurs to help make it as easy as possible for them to take the plunge into business.
“The latest research from Barclays shows the entrepreneurial scene is flourishing; a testament to both Scotland’s long heritage of business innovation, and to those networks in place to help nurture that talent.
“With momentum on our side the time is right for social start-ups to capitalise on opportunities available to help make a positive impact on society, while also creating a sustainable, successful business.
“The Young Innovators Challenge is here to help those social start-ups begin their journey by providing them with practical business support and funding from day one.”
Thirty of the best entries to the challenge will each win £2,000 as well as hands-on advice from some of Scotland’s leading businesses to help them develop their ideas over the summer. Winners will have the opportunity to return in August to pitch their ideas to judges for additional funding of up to £5,000.
This year the competition will be judged by social innovator, Josh Littlejohn (organiser of the Scottish Business Awards); Susan Aktemel, director of Homes for Good; Graham Bell, chief executive of Kibble Foundation and Tony Banks, chairman of Balhousie Care Group,
Tony Banks, commented: “I have long held the belief that the business community must be proactive about offering opportunities to young people, equipping them with the skills they need to get a foot on the ladder, while helping them to prove themselves and make a lasting difference in their community.
“The Young Innovators Challenge gives young people a fantastic opportunity to make a positive impact so I am pleased to be again involved in judging the competition. I look forward to seeing the entries and exciting ideas, particularly in the area of health and wellbeing, which is obviously close to my heart.”
For more information on the Young Innovators Challenge 2015 and to enter, visit www.sie.ac.uk/YIC