COVID-19 Update - 24 March 2021

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The University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) Business Competition is a well-established and high-profile competition open to all students across 13 UHI sites. The competition reaches out through a broad regional marketing campaign to approximately 40,000 FE, HE and Postgraduate students and researchers based in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, with a strong focus on supporting students both at the application, shortlisting and post-competition stage. Although open to the wider community, the competition regularly attracts 70% of its entries from the UHI student population.

The aim of the competition is to inspire, encourage and support participants to develop enterprising and entrepreneurial behaviours and skills, as well as encourage them to consider their role in solving societal problems through innovation. It regularly attracts entries from a range of subject areas including engineering. UHI is keen to find initiatives that increase the numbers of engineers who participate and Engineers in Business helps to achieve this aim.
Winner: Alick Maclean BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering Student, Lews College UHI, Best Engineer and Best Design Awards, £1,500 Engineers in Business prize

Alick Maclean’s unique boat trailer design will make boat launching and retrieval effortless, regardless of how challenging the shore terrain is. This design is particularly useful for solo boat operators and anyone who wants to make sure that their boat is cared for and still stay afloat.

Alick said: “One of the most difficult and most precarious aspects of boating is launching and retrieval and any mistakes mishaps can have very expensive consequences. My business idea is to develop my boat trailer design that will fit virtually any type of boat hull and will enable solo users to launch and retrieve their boat single-handedly.”
Second Place Winner: Terry Elder, Crofter, Welding Instructor and Student at North Highland College UHI. Most Innovative Business, £1,000 Engineers in Business prize

Terry Elder's concept is a tractor loader front bale handle with hydraulic folding spikes, which would reduce the amount of accidents on the road, while adhering to new legislation which requires handling equipment to be folded back, removed or covered on the road.

Terry commented: "I am always coming up with new ideas on how to make the day to day jobs on our croft safer and easier. This design will make a dangerous farming environment safer and if it could help stop people from getting hurt on our roads, that can only be a good thing."
Third Place Winner: Calum MacDonald, an HND Engineering Systems Student at Inverness College UHI. Best Engineering Environmental Business, £500 Engineers in Business Prize

Calum MacDonald’s idea is to use ultrasound to tackle the problem of red mites, a common problem for chicken owners/farmers. If left untreated, red mites can reduce egg production and lead to swelling, bleeding and death in extreme cases. Ultrasound has been successfully used to combat dust mites, and Calum plans to create a prototype and test his idea. If his innovation is successful it could lead to improved health, wellbeing and comfort for the chickens, but also productivity.

Positive Feedback

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.

Professor Chris O’Neil, Principal of Inverness College UHI