Winning night for East Ayrshire at Sir Tom Hunter challenge

Loudoun Academy was crowned the winner of the Sir Tom Hunter Enterprise Challenge last night after delivering a very professional and polished businesses pitch for their company, 3D Me.

The team, Nathan Kerrigan, Robert Hendrie, Catherine King, Andrew MacGillivray, Kirsty Ewart, Chloe Paterson and Rachel Goudie, are producing personalised 3D figurines which can be used as cake toppers for wedding or celebration cakes.

Their pitch was exceptional and Sir Tom Hunter was very amused by the 3D figurine that the team had made for him. They were also clear about how they wanted to grow their business by purchasing a colour 3D printer and special camera which would make their figurines even more lifelike.

The team were already planning diversification of the product by moving into the pet market and producing personalised figurines of animals. By diversifying the product, the team had won over the Judges each very keen to buy their own figurine.

Recognised for having a real, operational business within a growth market, Team Loudoun received a trophy from Sir Tom and a prize of £5000. They have also been offered support from Sir Tom and the expert panel of judges to take their business forward.

And the good news kept coming for East Ayrshire with Cumnock Academy lifting the third prize of £2000 with their company Body and Mind.

The Body and Mind team of Christie Murdoch, Ben Menzies, Christopher Hunter, Evan Smith, Laura Shedden and Jodie Farrow, created a health tracker which could detect high levels of anxiety and focused on the mental health of the wearer.

Their pitch was extremely informative and the Judges were really impressed by their research into the excessive use of social media by many young people and the associated rise of mental health problems.

Second place went to North Ayrshire Council’s St Matthews Academy. The team, UNiQUE, received £3000 for their interactive personality test for primary school pupils.

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

A semi final heat was held in East, North and South Ayrshire where the top three teams of young entrepreneurs were selected to represent their local authority at the all Ayrshire final held at Ayr Racecourse.

Six teams received £1000 for reaching the finals. Teams representing Ardrossan Academy, Cumnock Academy, Girvan Academy, Loudoun Academy, Marr College and St Matthews Academy presented their business plans in the Dragons’ Den style contest to a panel of judges – Sir Tom Hunter, Willie Mackie (Regional Chair Ayrshire College and board member of Scottish Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland), Marie Macklin (Executive Chair of Macklin Enterprise Partnerships) Heather Dunk (Principal, Ayrshire College) and Frank Gormanley (enabler, Entrepreneurial Spark).

Sir Tom Hunter, entrepreneur and philanthropist said: “Ayrshire’s young people have again stepped up to the mark creating business ideas that any entrepreneur would be proud of and I congratulate them all.

“We need to redouble our efforts to engage all young people in the world of work and educate them for a world that is changing at an unparalleled pace – teachers can’t bear all the burden of this, business must play its role and I’d recommend all Ayrshire businesses sign up to Founders4Schools to do just that.”

Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council said: “I am incredibly proud of our young people from Loudoun Academy who showed great maturity and confidence to win the grand final of the Sir Tom Hunter Challenge and to Cumnock Academy who took third place.

“Our teams pitched viable business ideas in a passionate way. They engaged the judges and the audience with their excellent presentations which were well researched and developed.

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

“Above all, we want to foster in our young people that vital ‘can-do’ attitude and positive mindset. Events like this clearly show what a talented pool of young entrepreneurs we have in East Ayrshire.”

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’.

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