Entrepreneurs wanted for business challenge

Commercialisation chiefs are seeking the next Michelle Mone or Sir Alan Sugar who are keen to develop a great business idea.

Entrepreneurial staff and students of the University of Aberdeen are being challenged to enter the institution’s latest Blue Skies Business Ideas Competition.


This is the fourth time the University has held its contest which offers entrants a chance to win a share of a £20,000 prize fund to help get their business idea off the ground.


This time round winners will also get invaluable mentoring from an experienced investment company.


Tomorrow night (Tuesday, February 10) Sir Moir Lockhead, Chief Executive of FirstGroup plc, will help launch the competition.


Sir Moir will speak about his own success story which has seen him expand his Aberdeen based transport empire across the UK and North America.


All students and staff are welcome to attend the launch of the contest, which is sponsored by Braveheart Ventures with additional support from the Scottish Institute for Enterprise and University of Aberdeen Careers Service.


The driving force behind the business competition is Professor Dominic Houlihan, the University’s Vice Principal for Research and Commercialisation.


He said: “The University of Aberdeen is a hotbed of pioneering ideas and has a fine pedigree of getting those ideas to market.


“Our previous Blue Skies Thinking Business Ideas Competitions have generated some superb ideas.  I look forward to seeing even more innovative suggestions which could see their creators delivering a Dragons’ Den style pitch.”


Proposals that have won previous competitions include a device that could help those with those with hearing impairments; a computer aid for stroke sufferers with sight loss; a revolutionary portable rock bolt tester to improve mine safety, a device to help solo horse riders load their animal into its horsebox and a cyber shop for the hiring of designer handbags.


Staff and students – undergraduate and postgraduate – who wish to enter should sum up their business idea in no more than 200 words and submit it by 5pm on March 2. Short-listed entrants will then give a 10 minute pitch to a panel of experts.


Anyone wishing to find out more should attend tomorrow’s launch event at Zeste, Crombie Hall which takes place between 5.30pm and 7.30pm. Please register for the launch event at www.abe.prospects.ac.uk/casa/servlet/casa.jobseeker.event.JSEventServlet?mode=showCal or email blueskies@abdn.ac.uk.


More details are also available on www.abdn.ac.uk/blueskies