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Young Scots to go head to head in front of investors at Venturefest

VentureJam 2016 participants

Three teams of innovative young Scots are getting ready to do battle when they pitch their creative ideas to tackle the global problem of air pollution in front of some of the country’s leading innovators, entrepreneurs and investors at Venturefest Scotland – Scotland’s annual innovation summit – on 1 September.

The teams, known as Futuristic 5, Ninions and Project Airtech, were the winning trio at VentureJam 2016, the official youth strand for Venturefest, which took place on 5-7 August at Glasgow Science Centre and was delivered by Young Scot, Glasgow City of Science and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

The innovative hackathon-style event saw teams of young people aged 14-20 years design and develop innovative new ideas to help improve Scotland’s air quality, whilst driving home the message that we all have a part to play in achieving this goal. The innovative ideas that the teams came up with included a photosynthesis bicycle, a fan that filters air and a map-based app that shows you ‘clean air’ routes around the city. Reward schemes promoting positive choices for creating more sustainable lifestyles featured heavily in the ideas generated by several of the young teams.

Throughout VentureJam, the would-be entrepreneurs were supported by a team of mentors made up of engineers, creatives and technologists as well as legal and environmental experts.

The three winning teams are now getting ready to pitch their best ideas from the Jam weekend, Dragon’s Den-style, to top innovation experts at Venturefest Scotland in the hope of persuading them to back their concepts.

The winning team will receive an investment from Social Investment Scotland (SIS), and all three finalists will benefit from a session with an SIS investment manager to help them realise their ideas.

The youngsters’ pitches will form part of the Pitchfest! stream of Venturefest, where delegates will have the opportunity to learn how to pitch, find out why pitching matters, learn how to use pitching as a means to find ideas to solve a problem and see how others pitch to funders and what those funders might want to know.

To build excitement ahead of the VentureJam youth pitch, and to raise awareness of the importance of taking positive action to tackle air pollution, a projected animation by Double Take Projections will be beamed onto the Glasgow City Chambers, the Clyde Auditorium and Cineworld IMAX at Glasgow Science Centre on the evening of Tuesday 30th August.

Dr Susie Mitchell, programme director of Glasgow City of Science, said: “VentureJam 2016 brought together young people from a wide range of backgrounds (from music and the arts to gaming and the environment) to come up with radical new ideas to improve the air we breathe. The young people were guided by leading figures from the world of television, gaming, product design and 3D animation. It was an inspirational weekend and I can’t wait to see the teams in action at Venturefest. If Venturejam reflects the future of innovation in Scotland, then the future is bright.”

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot, said: “Every one of the teams that took part in VentureJam came up with ideas of a very high standard – the potential investors at Venturefest now have a very difficult decision to make. Any one of these talented young people could be a successful entrepreneur of the future.”

Alastair Davis, Chief Executive of Social Investment Scotland said: “At Social Investment Scotland we’re committed to supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs and that’s why we are delighted to be supporting VentureJam as part of this year’s Venturefest. We know that the next generation of Scotland’s entrepreneurs who care not only about making a profit but also about the world and their impact in it and that’s why we’re particularly keen to support these young people as they take their next steps on this journey.”

Dr Colin Gillespie, principal air scientist at SEPA said: “Poor air quality has been reported as contributing to thousands of premature deaths across the UK every year. The Scottish Government’s Cleaner Air for Scotland Strategy (CAFS) wants to tackle this problem head-on and make Scotland’s air quality the best in Europe. Involving young people and allowing them to lead on the air pollution message they feel should be delivered, or what the solutions could be, is a very effective way to raise awareness of the problem of poor air quality. It’s great to contribute to this year’s VentureJam, with talented young people who genuinely care about this extremely important issue. I wish the winning teams all the best for Venturefest.”

Bailie Elaine McDougall, Glasgow City Council’s executive member for Transport, Environment and Sustainability, said: “Glasgow has set a target of being one of the most sustainable cities in Europe and we take our responsibility to monitor air quality very seriously. While we have made very good progress we recognise that there is more to be done. Initiatives such as VentureJam are a great way of engaging with younger people on important issues and gives them the opportunity to be creative, innovative and come up with ideas and solutions which could ultimately help the city reduce air pollution levels and improve the health of its citizens."

VentureJam 2016 was supported by Scottish Government, SEPA, Social Investment Scotland, Glasgow City Council, Developing the Young Workforce Glasgow, Scotland’s Environment Web, Murgitroyd, Perceptive Communicators and Glasgow Science Centre.

For more information, visit www.glasgowcityofscience.com or www.young.scot

ENDS

 

Notes to editors

About Young Scot: Young Scot is the national youth information and citizenship agency for Scotland, and currently there are over 620,000 Young Scot cardholders across Scotland.

Young Scot provides all young people in Scotland aged 11-26 with information, ideas and incentives to enable them to make informed decisions and choices, turn their ideas into action and take advantage of opportunities available throughout Scotland and Europe.

young.scot – The national youth information portal for Scotland

youngscot.net - Young Scot’s corporate website

About Glasgow City of Science: Glasgow City of Science is a pioneering partnership engaging an eclectic mix of 90 organisations (including academia, government, arts and culture, and business) which aims to build on, and profile, Glasgow and the West of Scotland’s offer as a world-class region of science, culture and place through a range of inspirational partnership programmes.

About SEPA: The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is Scotland’s principal environmental regulator, protecting and improving Scotland’s environment.

As a non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government, SEPA’s role is to make sure that the environment and human health are protected, to ensure that Scotland’s natural resources and services are used as sustainably as possible and contribute to sustainable economic growth.

With around 1300 people based across Scotland, from the Highlands and Islands to the Borders, SEPA regulates and advises on a wide range of environmental activities.

SEPA constantly assesses the quality of Scotland’s environment by monitoring our air, land and water and uses the findings to advise government, industry and the public on environmental best practice.

About Scottish Government’s Cleaner Air for Scotland Strategy: Cleaner Air for Scotland – The Road to a Healthier Future (CAFS) is a national cross-government strategy that sets out how the Scottish Government and its partner organisations propose to reduce air pollution further to protect human health and fulfil Scotland’s legal responsibilities as soon as possible. A series of actions across a range of policy areas are outlined, including raising national awareness of the problems associated with poor air quality and highlighting the need for us all to take action to reduce our emissions.

Further information is available at http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0048/00488493.pdf

About Venturefest Scotland: Venturefest Scotland is an annual event that brings together small and medium sized ambitious Scottish companies, entrepreneurs, investors and innovators to connect and explore ways of growing and innovating.

Venturefest Scotland is spearheaded by Innovate UK and the Knowledge Transfer Network, Scottish Enterprise, Glasgow City Council, Glasgow City of Science and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Key sponsors include Standard Life, SP Energy Networks, University of Strathclyde and Marks & Clerk, with support from the Scottish Government, Interface, Social Investment Scotland, LINC Scotland and Young Company Finance and many more organisations and supporters of Scotland’s business landscape.

www.venturefestscotland.co.uk

About the Teams:

Five teams took part in VentureJam Scotland. Three teams will be pitching at Venturefest 2016 (Ninions, Project AirTech, Futuristic 5). Details of the young people involved are:

Ninions: Ali Hussain (aged 16, Glasgow), Ciaran Crumlish (17, East Renfrewshire), Chloe Doris (17, Glasgow), Zain Khan (16, Glasgow), Jo Devlin (16, East Renfrewshire).

Project AirTech: Joseph Daly (16, Glasgow), Gordon Cleary (16, East Renfrewshire), Isla Thom (16, Penicuik), Edward Amoah (16, Edinburgh), Edwin Amoah (16, Edinburgh), Bronwyn Kerr (17, Glasgow).

Futuristic 5: George Norman (14, Edinburgh), Ryan McDonald (15, Glasgow), Sarah Sahibqran (17, Glasgow), Ben Carlin (17, Glasgow), Sulayman Choudry (14, Glasgow).


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