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Thousands of pounds up for grabs in University of Highlands & Islands business competition

Matej Papp, co-owner of Boxfluence, who won £1,000 in last year's Highlands & Islands business competition.

Budding entrepreneurs across the north of Scotland are being invited to demonstrate their talents in the 2022 University of the Highlands and Islands business competition.

With a prize fund of £8,000, awards will go to the best presentation, best researched idea and best engineering idea.

Other honours include prizes for most innovative idea, best commercial idea and the youth entrepreneurship award.

The competition is organised by CREATE, the college’s Centre for Enterprise and Innovation.

Now in its sixteenth year it has so far awarded more than £86,000 in cash prizes.

Competition can change people’s lives

Vicky Johnson, director of centre for remote and sustainable communities, said: “The University of the Highlands and Islands partnership has a key role to play in supporting the region’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Encouraging and enabling entrepreneurship will play a key role in that recovery.

“We have seen this business competition change people’s lives by providing them with the confidence and support they need to turn their idea into a reality.”

Last year’s top prize went to Simon Hay, from Fortrose, and his idea featuring a vertical freight farming system designed to grow sustainable crops in Scotland year-round.

Mr Hay took home a cash prize of £1,000 and a combined legal and accountancy package from sponsors’ Johnston Carmichael and Harper Macleod.

Engineering award up for grabs

Once again there will be special cash prizes for the best engineering ideas, with these awards sponsored by the Engineers in Business Fellowship, a charity that promotes the importance and value of business education for engineers.

Matej Papp and Ahmed Nassar took home a £1,000 prize last year with their business, Boxfluence, and their idea for a transportable and lightweight portable boxing ring called GoSparTM.

Matej Papp and Ahmed Nassar with their portable boxing ring.

Mr Papp, a personal trainer from Inverness, said: “The University of the Highlands business competition is an opportunity to showcase your dreams and passions.

“Winning the engineering award gave us the confidence to keep growing and to take our business to the next level, knowing that there are people out there that support our vision.”

Competition inspirational

David Falzani, Engineers in Business Fellowship president, said: “Research tells us that equipping young engineers with business skills makes them better engineers, more employable and more effective in the workplace.

“The Engineers in Business prize fund, which the university has awarded over the past four years, allows the university to inspire more undergraduates, graduates and entrepreneurs in the wider community to take part in its annual business competition.”

The competition is open to anyone living in the Highlands and Islands, Moray and Perthshire, as well as all students studying across the University of the Highlands and Islands partnership.

Apply online at by noon on Wednesday March 23 2022.

Entries will be shortlisted to 15 and finalists will be invited to meet the competition judges to discuss their ideas further on finals day on Wednesday May 25 2022.

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