Edinburgh design company throws support behind final call for Scottish StartUp Awards entries

Scotland's first ever NSUA cohort at last year's awards

AN EDINBURGH-based design agency is encouraging Scotland’s outstanding startups to stand up and be recognised as a national awards programme nears its closing date. 

Make Things Happen Design Studio was founded in 2020 by Philippa Hurst, Suzanne Gilbert and Bebhinn Burke, who had a desire to bring heritage and cultural environments to life through design, innovation and creativity. Through its inclusive design, the company works with museums, visitor attractions, outdoor trails and cultural exhibitions, to make heritage learning more accessible and fun. 

Last year the firm was named the 2022 Creative StartUp of the Year for Scotland at the StartUp Awards National Series.

Since then, the company has gone on to win major contracts including the design of a new museum within Furness Abbey with English Heritage, a new permanent exhibition on behalf of the Clyne Heritage Society in Brora, an immersive visitor experience at The Greyfriars for the City of Lincoln Council and two new projects with the National Trust of Scotland at its Brodick Castle and Corrieshalloch Gorge.

The National StartUp Awards was created in collaboration with the team behind the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, one of the most successful awards programmes in the UK. The StartUp Awards are running for the second year after launching in 2022. 

Suzanne Gilbert, Art Director at Make Things Happen, said the awards were a chance for up-and-coming companies to get noticed: “A lot of the awards in our industry are heavily weighted towards agencies who have been practising design for many years and are often expensive to enter. As this was the first awards to be held in Scotland, it was the perfect opportunity to get our name out there and connect with other entrepreneurs around the country who are going through similar journeys.

“After working so hard to establish ourselves during COVID, winning was a huge boost and really gave us the belief that we were on the right track to make our business a success. The award bolstered our credentials and helped us as we pushed for bids with some of the projects we went on to win.

“Outside of London, Edinburgh is one of the top creative, cultural and innovative cities in the UK. This makes it a great base for us – but also for other pioneering creatives. The city is free-thinking and has welcomed small businesses with open arms – it’s time more of these hidden gems were recognised so that we can grow the startup ecosystem in `burgh and the rest of the country.” 

Professor Dylan Jones-Evans OBE, founder of the StartUp Awards, said: “I’m proud to be launching the National StartUp Awards for the second year and supporting young businesses in Scotland. Last year’s cohort of winners demonstrated the innovative and dynamic nature of the startup scene across Scotland so I have no doubt that there are many more phenomenal new firms out there who deserve to be recognised for their enterprise, innovation and sheer hard work..

“The first few years of being in business can be the most challenging and crucial of them all – this is why I am passionate about highlighting the success of as many new businesses as I can by offering a platform on which they can reach new customers and to create the all-important opportunity for them to celebrate their achievements to date..

“I would urge any new business based in Scotland, no matter what size, turnover or industry, to put themselves forward for the chance to get the recognition they deserve.”

Applications for the National StartUp Awards 2023 close on Friday 17th February. To enter for free, visit startup.awardsplatform.com.

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