Teams picked for Sir Tom Hunter challenge grand final

After an evening of inspirational ideas and professional business pitches, two teams have been selected to represent East Ayrshire at the Sir Tom Hunter Challenge grand final to be held on Wednesday 12 June.

As part of his commitment to mentor local pupils, entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter, over the last eight years has challenged youngsters to come up with ideas for products, innovations or businesses of the future.

The semi final heat was held at Ayrshire College where the top two teams of young entrepreneurs were selected to represent East Ayrshire at an all Ayrshire final to be held at Sir Tom Hunter’s West Coast Accelerator facility at Olympic Business Park in Dundonald next week.

The winning teams were:

• Doon Academy
Team Doon created mental health board games to encourage young people of all ages to talk about their mental health, effectively tackling difficult topics and helping young people develop coping mechanisms
• Kilmarnock Academy
Team FOB (Finish Off Bullying) created a bespoke app designed to reduce bullying in schools across Scotland and improve the mental health of young people

Eight teams representing Auchinleck, Cumnock, Doon, Grange, Kilmarnock, Loudoun, St Joseph’s and Stewarton Academies, presented their business plans to a panel of judges. Alex McPhee (Depute Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officer, EAC), Michael Keane (Head of Planning and Economic Development, EAC), Melanie Blane (Director, White Rabbit Skincare) and Lorna Gibson (Vice President, Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry) faced a challenging task, as the level of competition was incredibly high.

Councillor Elena Whitham, Depute Leader of East Ayrshire Council said: “This was a keenly fought competition, where our young entrepreneurs had the opportunity to demonstrate not only their business skills, but also their fantastic creativity within a business setting.

“Engagement with business is now securely embedded in the school curriculum and our vision is to ensure that every pupil will develop the skills and abilities for a successful career.

“I would like to wish Doon and Kilmarnock Academies all the very best at the grand final event. The semi final was a great warm up for the young people and I know that they are now ready to take on Ayrshire’s best.”

The Sir Tom Hunter Challenge formed part of the Council’s sector leading business enterprise programme, designed to develop entrepreneurial skills and help make young people ‘business ready’.