Compostable tableware made from eggshells and a state-of-the-art filtration unit that cuts water use in manufacturing are just two of the innovative products that earned fledgling companies and entrepreneurs top honours at Bright Red Triangle’s inaugural innovation and enterprise competition, Bright Red Sparks.
The seven winners, chosen from 19 finalists, were announced at an awards dinner at the Hub just off the Royal Mile on Saturday (26 May 2018) and will share £12,000 prize money plus £17,000 of legal support from the law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn. There were also two special announcements on the evening including three Bright Red Sparks Wildcard winners, and two Edinburgh Napier alumni who will represent the university in the 2018 Santander Universities Entrepreneurship national competition.
The keynote speaker at the awards ceremony was Edinburgh Napier alumnus Kevin Dorren, former Chief Executive of one of Scotland’s first listed tech companies, Orbital Software, and one of the founders and entrepreneurs behind Move Fresh, an investment company for e-commerce, fast-moving consumer goods brands.
Our entertaining host for the evening was Adam Purvis, co-Founder of FutureX and Edinburgh Napier graduate.
The Bright Red Sparks winners were chosen in the following categories: Bright Ideas, Going for Growth, Staff Superhero, Business for Good, Active Citizens, and Innovative Intrapreneurs. Shepherd and Wedderburn supported the Bright Ideas, Business for Good, Staff Superhero, and Going for Growth categories, and John Morrison, an associate in the firm’s corporate finance team, joined the judging panel in the Going for Growth category.
The first round of judging was conducted by Bright Red Triangle’s core team members, and the second round of judging was completed by two external judges per category who selected the final winners.
The winners in each category were:
Bright Ideas – Campar
A concept online booking tool for camper vans and camp sites, developed by Madalina Dichiu and Codrin Platon. The judging panel said Dichiu and Platon had developed “an original idea, playing directly into the sharing economy but with a sound unique selling point that could really transform this particular sector”.
Going for Growth – uFraction8
A Heriot Watt University spin-out, which has developed niche filtration system that reduces water usage and increases efficiency in the production of pharmaceuticals, food additives and other products across a wide range of sectors. The judging panel described uFraction8 as being “well thought out, ambitious and innovative”, commending its creators’ “passion, attention to detail and drive”.
Business for Good – Alterwaste
An Edinburgh-based start-up developing a range of eco-friendly products from waste by-products. The company is currently developing disposable tableware made from industrial eggshell waste under the Colleggtion brand name. The judges said Alterwaste is a “sustainable product” created in response to “market and environmental challenges”.
Staff Superheroes – Maria Gauci
Maria Gauci, Founder of Partem Astra training & consulting. Gauci has developed industry-led MSc modules and standalone, intensive lab skills courses to help university graduates secure industry jobs.
Innovative Intrapreneurs – Alex Porter Smith & Olga Tjukova
There were two winners for this category both receiving £1,000 to spend on develop opportunities. The category is related to Edinburgh Napier students who have played a role in our Bright Red Triangle Consultancy service and through their experience have developed themselves both professionally and personally.
Alex Porter-Smith founder of video production company High Tide Media, which specialises in providing online visual content for clients including Edinburgh Beer Factory, Hidden Door Festival, Creative Scotland and Rettie & Co. The judging panel described Porter-Smith as a “clear leader, having taken advantage of the opportunities at all stages of her development”.
Born in Riga, Latvia, Olga Tyukova moved to Scotland in 2010 to study visual arts and went on to achieve a first-class degree in Photography and Film from Edinburgh Napier University. She has since launched her career as a freelance photographer and graphic designer, with clients including Edinburgh Napier University, ScotRail, British Council and AirBnB.
Active Citizens – Gon Asla
The Active Citizen award recognised, Gon Asla, a nursing student and Changing Perceptions volunteer who has made an enormous contribution to our community through his commitment to fighting for social change. Gon was heavily involved in a project supporting charities in the Himalyas as well as the UN’s campaign for 16 Days of activism against gender-based violence.
Gon is developing his own social project developing an online community to support, motivate and empower nurses in the community.
Bright Red Sparks Wildcards
ClipClap – a product innovation for the retail industry.
GearedApp – mobile app design and development company.
CockBlock – app to block unsolicited pictures.
Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards
Sydney Chasin, The Healthy Crop.
Richard McAdam, RS McAdam Technology Ltd.
Commenting on the winners of the inaugural Bright Red Sparks awards, John Morrison, of Shepherd and Wedderburn, said: “The quality of entries in the Bridge Red Sparks competition was extremely impressive. All the finalists deserve to be commended but the winners really stood out as examples of commercially-focused innovation with the potential to stand out in their respective markets.
“Through our ongoing role with Bright Red Triangle, Shepherd and Wedderburn will be supporting all of the winners and finalists in the next stage of their journey through Edinburgh Napier University’s Bright Red Triangle incubator. We wish them all every success and look forward to supporting them in their development journey.”
Nick Fannin (Head of Bright Red Triangle) said, “The Bright Red Sparks Awards have been a fantastic celebration of the breadth of innovation and enterprising activity across Edinburgh Napier University. We have been so impressed by the creativity, drive and enthusiasm of all of our finalists to solve problems, to create opportunities and to drive new businesses.
It’s great to be able to reward all this hard work and we couldn’t have done it without the amazing support from our generous supporters and sponsors, Shepherd & Wedderburn, Santander Universities and the Moffat Charitable Trust.
We expect great things from our winners so watch out for the names…”