Scottish students take Fresh Ideas to the next level

BioLiberty, University of Edinburgh- The revolutionary Grip Assist Glove, one of the finalists

STUDENTS across Scotland have been recognised for their innovation, ambition and entrepreneurial skills as 14 start-up business ideas make it to the final round of a national competition.

Fresh Ideas is Scotland’s longest-running national student enterprise competition for early stage ideas and has helped thousands of Scotland’s most ambitious young people grow an idea into a viable business or social enterprise which makes positive change in the world.

Run by the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE), more than 240 students applied to the 2020-21 competition which has now been whittled down to 14 finalists who are in the running to be awarded a cash prize to help develop their ideas. 

Students from Glasgow School of Art, Queen Margaret University, Robert Gordon University, University of Abertay, University of Edinburgh and University of Strathclyde will now go on to develop their business start-ups ahead of the final on 12 March 2021, where they will pitch to judges virtually.

Ideas making it to the final include BioLiberty – a revolutionary grip assist glove and digital therapy platform which helps patients suffering from hand weakness recover strength and improve their mental wellbeing, developed by Ross O’Hanlon of University of Edinburgh.  Jan Wright, a graduate of Glasgow School of Art, hopes to impress judges with the development of a virtual shopping experience that puts a spotlight on local brands and creators.

Other revolutionary ideas include the development of a cost-effective mechanism to reduce ligament injuries to alpine skiers, a discrete portable and handsfree solution for managing endometriosis pain and an online platform to showcase the artwork of the LGBTQ+ community.

Fiona Godsman, chief executive of Scottish Institute for Enterprise, said: “Our Fresh Ideas competition harnesses the very best of student innovation and talent, and in a time like no other, it is incredibly rewarding to see that their enthusiasm and ambitions haven’t been dampened.  Nurturing innovation and entrepreneurial skills in our younger generation is paramount for Scotland to evolve as a progressive and inclusive nation.

“We’re very proud to have supported thousands of start-up ideas develop into pioneering businesses that champion diversity and sustainability and look forward to extending our support to the 2021 finalists.”

The 14 finalists and their ideas are:

  • Maria Amorin, University of Edinburgh
    A new filtration method to treat dye polluted waste water with the potential to revolutionise the global textile industry.
  • Calum Boyle, University of Strathclyde
    Flowers Afloat – Preserving wedding flowers in a stylish and modern new way.
  • Calum Brodie, University of Abertay
    BGK Academy – A specialised goalkeeper academy in Tayside providing training and coaching to meet the high demand for goalkeeper training in grass-roots football.
  • Caterina Carpenzano, University of Strathclyde
    An all-in-one solution for cleaning reusable period cups reducing the risks associated with bacteria contamination in water-scarce environments.
  • Lucy Fisher, Robert Gordon University (graduate)
    Knit It – An innovative new online platform that will allow knitters of all abilities to take their creativity to new levels in an accessible, fun and easy to use way.
  • Kieran Fowler, University of Strathclyde (graduate)
    Glasgow Greens – Bringing hyper-local and sustainable produce to Glasgow’s restaurants through city-based hydroponic agricultural techniques.
  • Jack Graham, University of Strathclyde
    A new cost-effective mechanism to reduce ligament injuries to alpine skiers.
  • Sinead Higham, Queen Margaret University (graduate)
    ACT Scotland – A new performing arts school in the heart of Lanarkshire that will fill the gap in accessibility to the arts in Scotland.
  • Penny Morton, Glasgow School of Art (graduate)
    A new discrete portable and handsfree solution for managing endometriosis pain, helping users enjoy life outside the home.
  • Ross O’Hanlon, University of Edinburgh (graduate)
    BioLiberty – The revolutionary Grip Assist Glove and digital therapy platform helps patients suffering from hand weakness recover strength and improve their mental well-being.  
  • Heather Richardson, Queen Margaret University
    Queerativity – An online platform showcasing Queer Art by Queer Creators. It will amplify these marginalised voices and act as a positive change-maker in the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Rachel Sim, Robert Gordon University
    Spruce Homeware – An online retailer providing a wide range of high quality small business homewares. By managing all orders, sales & marketing for the crafter, Spruce Homeware allows them to focus their efforts on their art.
  • James Swinburne, University of Strathclyde
    A new cutting-edge and user-friendly design for a simpler, more comfortable, stylish and affordable prosthetic hand.
  • Jan Wright, Glasgow School of Art (graduate)
    Shop Small Glasgow – A virtual shopping experience that puts a spotlight on local brands and creators.

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