UHI Students Win Innovation Awards

A therapetuic cow shoe, a bow stand to make archery accessible, and a sculpture from scrap metal business were among the winning ideas at the University of the Highlands and Islands Business Competition Grand Final.

10 out of 15 finalists shared in a prize fund of £6,500 after pitching their idea to a panel of the region’s top business and enterprise professionals.

The University of the Highlands and Islands’ Business Competition is run by CREATE, its Centre for Enterprise and Innovation based at Inverness College UHI.

Five awards were sponsored by the Engineering in Business Fellowship (EIBF) to mark the Year of Engineering and in recognition of the importance of entrepreneurship in engineering. The charity promotes the value of business education for engineers.

They included a new category of ‘Best Engineer’, which was awarded to Inverness College UHI student Neil Pirritt. The awards for ‘Youth Entrepreneurship,’ ‘Best Culture and Environment Business,’ ‘Best Researched’ and ‘Most Enterprising’ also went to engineering students.

The competition attracted 110 entries, including 82 from students across the University of the Highlands and Islands partnership. It is now in its 13th year and supports and encourages entrepreneurship within the university but also across the wider the Highlands and Islands.

The 2018 winners of the University of the Highlands and Islands Business Competition were:

  • Top prize of £1000 and a combined legal and accountancy package from Johnston Carmichael and Harper Macleod LLP worth £2000 – Stephenie Pagulayan, from Lerwick, a student at Shetland College UHI.
  • Bst Presentation Award, £250 – Gordon McIntosh, from Golspie.
  • Youth Entrepreneurship Award, £600 – Noah Stubbings, from Harris, a student at Lews Castle College UHI
  • Best Researched Award, £600 – Charlotte Smith, from Kinloss, a student at Moray College UHI
  • Most Enterprising Award, £600 – Kirsty Adam, from Aviemore
  • Best Culture and Environment Business, £600, and a Johnston Carmichael accountancy package – Colin Cannon, from Dingwall, a student at Inverness College UHI
  • Best Engineer Award, £600 – Neil Pirritt, from Dingwall, a student at Inverness College UHI
  • Best Student Business, £750, and a Johnston Carmichael accountancy package – Christine Amos, from the Isle of Lewis, a student at Lews Castle College UHI
  • Best Social Impact Business, £750, and an Impact Hub Inverness support package – Stephanie Smith, from Inverness, a student at Inverness College UHI
  • Best Commercial Business, £750 – Valerie Smith Walker, from Sutherland.

Carol Langston, Head of Entrepreneurship at Inverness College UHI, said: “The University of the Highlands and Islands Business Competition is now in its 13th year and we are continually overwhelmed by the high number of quality entries we receive from across the Highlands and Islands. Of these entries, 70 per cent came from students within the university partnership. At Inverness College UHI we work with students to encourage them to be innovative, creative and think outside the box. I am heartened to see so many wonderful ideas, particularly from an engineering perspective, and I know the judges were very impressed with the pitches this year and the quality of ideas.”

Professor Chris O’Neil, Principal of Inverness College UHI, said: “Entrepreneurs and start-up innovation is critical to economic growth and job creation. Universities and colleges have a significant role to play in encouraging innovation and creativity within young people and at Inverness College UHI we try to embed the importance of these skills in their thinking so they move on and achieve their full potential. It was wonderful to see such a range of exciting business ideas and I would like to personally wish every single finalist success in their future endeavours.”

David Falzani MBE, President of Engineers in Business Fellowship, said: “EIBF supports universities that run business competitions for their students and, also, inspires young engineers and technicians to get involved in creating fantastic business ideas. We congratulate all the winners and are delighted to see that five engineering students have been awarded an EIBF prize. Employers value many of the skills involved in the ingenuity process.  These include skills such as commercial thinking, team working, communication and prioritisation. These skills help engineers and technicians better compete in the workplace. We hope that by supporting students at this stage, they develop a lasting passion for business innovation.”

The University of the Highlands and Islands Business Competition has attracted more than 1,300 entries since it launched 13 years ago and has awarded more than £65,000 in cash prizes. It is open to all students studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands as well as non-students living in the Highlands and Islands, Moray and Perthshire.

It was made possible with the support of sponsors’ Engineers in Business Fellowship, University of the Highlands and Islands, Harper Macleod LLP, Impact Hub Inverness, Johnston Carmichael, The Apprentice Store, Big Box, Business Gateway, Essence of Harris, Wave Energy Scotland, Wooha, Wow Scotland and Wyvis Roofing.

Published courtesy of CREATE, Centre for Enterprise and Innovation, Inverness College UHI