Compostable tableware made from eggshells and a state-of-the-art filtration unit that cuts water use in manufacturing are just two of the innovative products that earned fledgling companies and entrepreneurs top honours at Edinburgh Napier University’s inaugural innovation and enterprise competition, Bright Red Sparks.
The five winners, chosen from 18 finalists, were announced at an awards dinner at the Hub on the Royal Mile on Saturday (May 26) and will share £12,000 prize money and £17,000 of legal support from the law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn.
The keynote speaker at the awards was Edinburgh Napier alumnus Kevin Dorren, former Chief Executive of one of Scotland’s first listed tech companies, Orbital Software, and one of the founders and entrepreneurs behind Move Fresh, an investment company for e-commerce, fast-moving consumer goods brands.
The winners were chosen in the following categories: Bright Ideas, Going for Growth, Staff Superhero, Business for Good, and Innovative Intrapreneur. Shepherd and Wedderburn supported the Bright Ideas, Business for Good, Staff Superhero and Going for Growth categories and John Morrison, an associate in the firm’s corporate finance team, joined the judging panel in the Going for Growth category.
The winners in each category were:
Going for Growth - uFraction8, a Heriot Watt University spin-out, which has developed niche filtration system that reduces water usage and increases efficiency in the production of pharmaceuticals, food additives and other products across a wide range of sectors. The judging panel described uFraction8 as being “well thought out, ambitious and innovative”, commending its creators’ “passion, attention to detail and drive”.
Business for Good - Alterwaste, an Edinburgh-based start-up developing a range of eco-friendly products from waste by-products. The company is currently developing disposable tableware made from industrial eggshell waste under the Colleggtion brand name. The judges said Alterwaste is a “sustainable product” created in response to “market and environmental challenges”.
Bright Sparks - Campar, a concept online booking tool for camper vans and camp sites, developed by Madalina Dichiu. The judging panel said Dichiu had developed “an original idea, playing directly into the sharing economy but with a sound unique selling point that could really transform this particular sector”.
Innovative Intrapreneur - Alex Porter-Smith, founder of video production company High Tide Media, which specialises in providing online visual content for clients including Edinburgh Beer Factory, Hidden Door Festival, Creative Scotland and Rettie & Co. The judging panel described Porter-Smith as a “clear leader, having taken advantage of the opportunities at all stages of her development”.
Staff Superhero - Maria Gauci, founder of Partem Astra training & consulting. Gauci has developed industry-led MSc modules and standalone, intensive lab skills courses to help university graduates secure industry jobs.
Commenting on the winners of the inaugural Bright Red Sparks awards, John Morrison, of Shepherd and Wedderburn, said: “The quality of entries in the Bridge Red Sparks competition was extremely impressive. All the finalists deserve to be commended but the winners really stood out as examples of commercially-focused innovation with the potential to stand out in their respective markets.
“Through our ongoing role with Bright Red Triangle, Shepherd and Wedderburn will be supporting all of the winners and finalists in the next stage of their journey through Napier University’s Bright Red Triangle incubator. We wish them all every success and look forward to supporting them in their development journey.”
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The other finalists were:
KEEP YOUR PANTS ON is a women’s underwear brand that raises money for cervical cancer charities. The company, founded by Catriona Ferguson, plans to sell high quality ladies’ briefs in three styles when it launches later this year and a proportion of profits will go to charity. The company’s business plan also includes encouraging young women to attend cervical screening appointments. After many years in the motor retail sector, Founder and Managing Director, Catriona Ferguson identified this business opportunity from her own personal experience.
RS McAdam Technology Ltd is a new start-up aimed at reducing carbon emissions through innovative shock absorber technology called eShock™. eShock™ is a disruptive and scalable technology that will give customers competitive advantage, reduce fuel costs and more importantly reduce toxic emissions from vehicles. With a UK patent granted, the company is now progressing a second patent application with the aim of taking it to a full global patent application in 2019.
Shot 67 is a Glasgow-based independent commercial film production company established by Eilidh Mitchell and Pete J Jones, who have turned their passion for filmmaking into a business which is now winning work across the UK. Shot 67 provides production services including web videos, social media content and promotional films.
GearedApp is a small digital company that aims to build smart digital solutions for companies that lack the internal skills to do so. Its bespoke digital solutions are designed to solve problems, create value and improve efficiency for customers.
Born in Riga, Latvia, OlgaTyukova moved to Scotland in 2010 to study visual arts and went on to achieve a first-class degree in Photography and Film from Edinburgh Napier University. She has since launched her career as a freelance photographer and graphic designer, with clients including Edinburgh Napier University, ScotRail, British Council and AirBnB.