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 Monday 19 June.
As part of his commitment to mentor local pupils, entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter has, over the last six years, challenged youngsters to come up with ideas for products, innovations or businesses of the future.
The semi final heat was held at Sir Tom Hunter’s Entrepreneurial Spark facility at Olympic Business Park in Dundonald where the top two teams of young entrepreneurs were selected to represent East Ayrshire at an all Ayrshire final to be held at Ayr Racecourse next week.
The winning teams, who each scooped £1,500, were:
• Body and Mind from Cumnock Academy
The team from Cumnock Academy have designed a product to help people who suffer from anxiety or panic attacks by encouraging calmness and deep breathing exercises
• 3D Me from Loudoun Academy
The 3D Me team from Loudoun Academy are producing personalised 3D miniature figurines as celebration cake toppers
Seven teams representing Auchinleck Academy, Cumnock Academy, Doon Academy, James Hamilton Academy, Kilmarnock Academy, Loudoun Academy and Stewarton Academy, 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), Wendy Pring (KCP Environmental) and David Smith (Ashleigh Construction) – in the Dragons’ Den style contest.
Councillor Douglas Reid, 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.
“At the semi final our young entrepreneurs gave a professional pitch for their business ideas. The top two teams received £1500 while all the other teams received £600 from Sir Tom Hunter to develop enterprise within their schools.
“I would like to wish Cumnock Academy and Loudoun Academy 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’.