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What’s The Big Idea?! Winner Crowned

  • Nine student groups with big ideas have competed to be named winners of an entrepreneurial competition at New College Lanarkshire.
  • Karen Morris, a HND Art and Design student from our Kirkintilloch Campus, has been crowned the worthy winner of our What’s the Big Idea!? Competition.
  • The scheme,which is a collaboration between the College, Bridge 2 Business, and Young Enterprise Scotland, involved students submitting ideas for a new business venture.

Winning students pictured alongside our judges. (R-L) Neil Silvester, Geoff Leask, Skills For Life, Ann Baxter, Karen Morris and Margaret Webster

Nine student groups with big ideas have competed to be named winners of an entrepreneurial competition at New College Lanarkshire.

Karen Morris, a HND Art and Design student from our Kirkintilloch Campus, has been crowned the worthy winner of our What's the Big Idea!? Competition.

The scheme, which is a collaboration between the College, Bridge 2 Business, and Young Enterprise Scotland, involved students submitting ideas for a new business venture.

The entries were whittled down to a shortlist of nine, with Ann Baxter, Assistant Principal for Quality at New College Lanarkshire, Geoff Leask, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise Scotland, and former student and competition winner, Margaret Webster of HungTen Biltong serving as the judging panel to decide the winners.

Karen Morris impressed the judges with her abstract art, engaging presentation and inspirational story for her start-up business Size3 Art, which specialises in bringing her art to life on a range of products.

A student of HND Art and Design, she was looking for support to take her business idea to the next step of getting her designs on a range of products - and is using her studies to perfect her artistic skills.

Winning this competition felt amazing and has definitely given my confidence a boost! It has shown me that other people think my business idea is feasible which is very encouraging.

The prize money will be a fantastic help in getting my business off to a great start as I will be able to buy art supplies, equipment and more. I really appreciate the support and encouragement from my tutors and it has overall been a great experience.

I would thoroughly recommend entering future competitions!

Karen Morris

Karen received £500 towards her business idea and a certificate of recognition from the college.

The judging panel also decided on two runners-up. One of those was Neil Silvester, a HND Art and Design student at our Kirktintilloch Campus. His idea was the Silvester Institute, an exclusive art gallery for military veterans to exhibit and sell their art work.

What's The Big Idea?! gave me and the other finalists a great chance to experience what it is like to pitch ideas to clients. It was great to be selected as a runner up as it has given me the confidence and validation needed to carry on with my idea and see it through to fruition.

Neil Silvester

Another of the runner-ups in the competition was Student Essentials, a group from Skills For Life at our Coatbridge Campus. Their idea was to open a retail business which would stock essential items for students, including phone chargers, USB sticks and stationary - all decided after thorough market research with students from across the campus.

It means so much to us because the event has been really helpful. We feel amazing to be the runners up and the money will help our class to become more independent by helping us budget our money and run our own business.

Skills For Life Students

Neil and the Skills for Life students both received £250 and a certificate of recognition from the college.

The other six student businesses didn't walk away empty handed, as Young Enterprise Scotland has committed funding of £100 to each of the business ideas and all of the finalists will also receive 1-2-1 business support in the new year to take their ideas forward.

The finals event,which was held at 101 Park Street on Monday 10th December was attended by guests from across the college. One lecturer from the Supported Learning faculty, Audrey McKrell had several students presenting ideas on the evening.

The What's the Big Idea?!Competition is a fantastic opportunity for students to really showcase their creative ideas and entrepreneurial skills.

It has been a fantastic thing for some of the Supported Learning students to get involved in as they've had the opportunity to really show everyone their skills, talents and abilities.

The competition has given them invaluable experience of delivering a business pitch and has given their confidence a huge boost in the process, which will really help them in their future endeavours.

The students should be really proud of what they have achieved and we are all delighted to have been able to work with Bridge2Business.

Audrey McKrell, Lecturer

It was a privilege to host the competition and see all of the fantastic ideas that the students have been working on.

This competition is just one of the many fantastic opportunities to get engaged with entrepreneurial activity within the college, and I am excited to see these business ideas develop over the course of the next six months and beyond with 1-2-1 support.

One of these initiatives is the Market Days programme which sees students being offered support from the Learner Engagement Team's Be Engaged programme and Bridge2Business to host stalls throughout the year on each of the college campuses to get real life selling and business experience.

Bridge2Business looks forward to continuing our work with New College Lanarkshire in the near future on similar initiatives.

Fraser Morrison, Bridge2Business Programme Executive

It was a great opportunity for New College Lanarkshire to host "What's the Big Idea" in partnership with Bridge2Business as we already have a strong track record of promoting entrepreneurial skills with our learners.

We have fantastic facilities for learners and we are keen to continue to offer this type of competition that showcases learners' skills. All the learners who participated presented to an extremely high standard and will bean inspiration all future learners.

Ann Baxter, Assistant Principal

For more information about Bridge2Business within New College Lanarkshire, please contact Fraser Morrison on fraser.morrison@yes.org.uk