ENTRIES for the 2021 College of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise Competitors are actually open, with a prize pot of £8500 up for grabs to assist flip a enterprise thought right into a actuality.
The competitors is open to all college students learning throughout the College of the Highlands and Islands partnership, in addition to non-students dwelling within the Highlands and Islands, Moray and Perthshire.
Now in its 15th 12 months, the competitors is run by Create, a part of the College’s Centre for Distant and Sustainable Communities based mostly at Inverness School UHI, and encourages enterprise and innovation by supporting individuals to take their first steps on the street to beginning their very own enterprise.
Entries are actually open and budding entrepreneurs are invited to use and be in with an opportunity of successful a share of the £8500 prize pot. This consists of particular money prizes for enterprise concepts from engineering college students. Finalists can even obtain suggestions from a number of the area’s high entrepreneurs and enterprise advisers and get assist to take their thought ahead.
The deadline for entries is Friday March 26. Entries shall be shortlisted to 15 and finalists shall be invited to fulfill the competitors judges to debate their concepts additional on finals day in Might.
Final 12 months’s high prize went to Moray enterprise proprietor Alison Ruickbie, who received a £1000 money prize and a £2000 authorized and accountancy bundle to assist her develop Re:Retailer, her personal zero waste store in Lossiemouth.
“At first, I didn’t assume the competitors was related for me, however after realising I met all the standards, I assumed ‘why not?’” she mentioned.
“It actually made me sit again and take a look at my enterprise, nearly from an out of doors perspective. I discovered myself re-visiting and re-evaluating my marketing strategy. The influence of successful this competitors has been big – not solely by way of publicity, however confidence. All of a sudden I may see what I had achieved and the influence I used to be making, but in addition the place I used to be going.
“I realise now the one distinction between somebody who has a enterprise and somebody who has an thought for a enterprise is the primary individual has simply completed it, and brought that first wee step. You’ll by no means know in case you don’t attempt to you would possibly at all times remorse not making an attempt. Don’t hesitate and don’t doubt your self.”
Nursing scholar Roma Gibb from Evanton took residence final 12 months’s prize for greatest scholar enterprise together with her thought for a night-time assisted positioning assist to assist individuals with mobility issues appropriate their place in mattress. She used her £1000 prize cash, assist and recommendation to drive ahead her enterprise.
She mentioned: “I had my thought for some time, and once I came upon how simple it was to use for the competitors, I made a decision to offer it a go. It gave me a lot confidence in myself and perception in my thought. I now say ‘sure’ extra, since you by no means know the place it’d lead.
“I’ve gone from having an thought to collaborating within the IMPACT 30 enterprise programme and growing a sellable product, which can make a distinction to the lives of individuals with mobility points. The enterprise competitors is a tremendous expertise and above all it’s good enjoyable, you’ll meet nice individuals, acquire new expertise, and also you by no means know the place it’d take you.”
Vicky Johnson, director of the college’s centre for distant and sustainable communities, mentioned: “This competitors helps individuals with concepts to be progressive, bold and artistic, and helps them take that subsequent step in turning an thought right into a actuality. The pandemic continues to have a huge effect on our communities throughout the Highlands and Islands , and by serving to individuals develop their expertise, offering experience and signposting them to wider networks of assist, we may help to rebuild our economic system and the entrepreneurial considering that drives it and strikes us in a extra sustainable course.”
Following on from the success of final 12 months’s competitors, there may be once more an extra concentrate on engineering this 12 months, because of sponsorship by Engineers in Enterprise Fellowship (EIBF), a charity that promotes the significance and worth of enterprise schooling for engineers.
EIBF president David Falzani mentioned: “We’re delighted to sponsor the engineering prize for the third 12 months. Analysis tells us that introducing enterprise schooling to younger engineers and technologists makes them higher engineers, makes them extra employable, simpler within the office and it’s higher for the UK economic system.We’re proud to assist scholar innovation on the College, particularly as many winners go on to create actual companies which have a constructive influence in society.”
The competitors additionally continues to obtain sponsorship from Harper Macleod LLP, Affect 30 and Johnston Carmichael all of whom provide further assist as a part of the prize bundle; in addition to The Apprentice Retailer, Affect Hub Inverness, James Hendry Plumbing, and the Northern Innovation Hub.
Chris Kerr, accomplice at Harper Macleod LLP, mentioned: “We have supported the College of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise Competitors for greater than a decade and in that point have seen some super concepts offered and the extent of entrepreneurial acumen rise 12 months on 12 months. At a time reminiscent of this it’s extra necessary than ever to encourage entrepreneurs and promote innovation in enterprise throughout the area. That is why we’re delighted to once more lend our assist to this competitors, which might encourage the following era of companies that may develop to be an enormous a part of the native economic system’s future.”
Scott Jeffrey, accomplice at Johnston Carmichael, mentioned:“2020 has introduced unimaginable private and financial challenges, and as we glance to 2021, the entrepreneurial spirit celebrated on the College of the Highlands and Islands’ Enterprise Competitors is extra necessary than ever. We’re thrilled to be sponsoring this occasion once more, and stay up for assembly entrepreneurs and listening to about their imaginative and prescient and fervour for his or her new enterprise ventures.”
The College of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise Competitors has attracted greater than 1500 entries because it launched 15 years in the past and has awarded greater than £78,000 in money prizes.
Apply on-line at https://www.createhighland.com/learners/competitions.aspx by midday on Friday March 26 2021.