An online event was held at a north-east university to celebrate entrepreneurship and innovation.
The second cohort of Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) Startup Accelerator was brought together for the virtual event, where ten of the finalists battled it out for additional seed funding.
Staff, students and alumni from the accelerator program all took part, with finalists pitching for four awards of £5000 using pre-recorded videos that were streamed on YouTube.
The accelerator is part of the university’s innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives and supports entrepreneurial teams of students, staff and alumni from RGU and North East Scotland College (NESCol), with the aim of helping the region’s entrepreneurs and innovators create new scalable businesses.
It featured a keynote speech delivered by the Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, Ivan McKee.
Mr McKee said: “During these difficult times it is great to share some positive stories.
“Nurture and growth of young innovative companies matters and Scotland’s academic institutes play a vital role in supporting and building confidence in our new entrepreneurs.
“That is just what we need as we navigate our way out of lockdown and towards recovery”
Attendr took home the Most Innovative Idea Award for demonstrating a significantly innovative and unique idea which would have the maximum impact on industry.
The team developed a platform for low-cost, real-time tracking solution for further and higher education to record student attendance, reducing the time and human error of traditional attendance systems.
The award for Best Pitch was given to Storical for delivering the best pitch video on the day.
This is an online digital platform that provides a simple tool for anyone to create location-based story experiences.
KnitIt was awarded the Most Improved Award for demonstrating the most progress and development with their idea over the course of the start-up accelerator process.
The team designed platform to reinvent knitting patterns and use interactive tools to help users learn from tutorials, find and share patterns, and track their progress.
The event which was broadcast live to the public allowed the audience to influence the outcome of the event as they had the opportunity to vote for the Audience Choice Award.
The team that had the most votes from the public was Kairos which provides a critical solution to reducing household waste and save money while doing so.
The videos were judged based on a variety of criteria by a panel comprising Jo Macsween, RGU alumnus, former CEO of Macsween Haggis and Chair at Vistage, Jared Owen, Director of Digital and Entrepreneurship at Opportunity North East and RGU alumnus, Fiona Godsman, CEO of Scottish Institute for Enterprise.
Also featuring on the panel was Mike Wilson, the Chairman of Ecosse IP and RGIT alumnus and Duncan Reoch, Associate Partner at Ernst & Young.
Sir Ian Wood, Chairman of The Wood Foundation, said: “As the chancellor of RGU, I am proud to see the significant progress and achievements of the university and the impact it has made on the North East of Scotland, not the least of which is the business world.
“Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, these successful start-up teams provide an indication of how enterprise can succeed.
“The quality of the ideas from the start up teams is incredibly high and the imagination and entrepreneurship of these people bode very well for the future.”
The event was also used to launch the COVID-19 Student Innovation Challenge, funded by the RGU Foundation, which seeks to reward those RGU students who have used their ingenuity and creativity to selflessly make a positive impact on those in need during the pandemic.
The competition will run through June and five winners will be announced in July 2020.