Bright Red Triangle supporting more businesses than ever before
Bright Red Triangle – Edinburgh Napier University’s hub for innovation and enterprise – is supporting more businesses than ever before after an increase in the uptake of its services during lockdown.
The hub – which provides a range of support that allows students and alumni to explore, test and develop business ideas – has reported a 30% increase in business sign-ups.
Bright Red Triangle has had 71 start-ups register with it during 2019/20 – with a number of these new sign-ups coming post-lockdown as students and alumni prepare for life in a post Covid-19 economy. A total of 554 students and graduates are now part of the wider Bright Red Triangle community.
Nick Fannin, head of Bright Red Triangle, is delighted with the increase and believes that more and more people will be looking to start their own business as a result of an increasingly difficult employment and economic climate.
He said: “With the economy contracting, unemployment spiralling and competition for graduate jobs increasing, it is becoming more important to enable our graduates to make opportunities for themselves and to be prepared to build their own portfolio careers from a mix of employed, freelance and self-employed work.
“Employability skills, particularly enterprise skills are going to be incredibly important as we look forward and Bright Red Triangle has a big role to play at Edinburgh Napier in helping our students and alumni to prepare for life living in the post Covid-19 economy.
“Starting a business or a side hustle can be a game changer for people struggling with employment in the current economic climate. Our students and graduates are already starting to recognise this and we are thrilled to have seen a spike in the numbers of new businesses registered with our incubators. We look forward to supporting these start-ups further in the months and years ahead.”
Despite the University’s campuses being forced to close to both students and staff as a result of the pandemic in March, the Bright Red Triangle team has continued to virtually support its members with a number of online initiatives throughout the last four months.
Most recently – thanks to generous support from Santander Universities – 22 entrepreneurs representing 16 businesses took part in Bright Red Triangle’s Summer Accelerator programme.
Over the course of four weeks, its team of experienced business advisers delivered practical online workshops to support these ambitious entrepreneurs to accelerate their ideas and reach their business goals.
The programme also included a suite of helpful business start-up resources, one-to-one coaching, peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, networking opportunities, and advice from experienced professionals and entrepreneurs within the entrepreneurial eco-system in Edinburgh and beyond.
The programme culminated in a pitching competition, where participants had the chance to win a share of £6,000 provided by Santander Universities. Lindsey McArthur of Santander Universities and Bruce Walker, CEO of FutureX, were part of the judging panel.
Taking home the top prize of £3,500 was Fine Piece, a Scottish design company that specialises in producing furniture and homewares made from reclaimed and recycled materials.
Also winning was Aaron Reid who was awarded £2,000 towards his fitness training business, Lifestyle, and career coaching start-up, pRESPECT, who was awarded £500.
Fine Piece, which was founded by Edinburgh Napier product design graduate, Kirsty McKain and her business partner, Rebecca Subido, was delighted to take home the top prize.
Kirsty and Becka said: “”Covid-19 was the catalyst for us to apply for the summer accelerator programme at Bright Red Triangle. Having fallen through every gap in the government support schemes, we thought we might have to close up shop.
“We saw an opportunity with a plan we had in the pipeline – the turning school. With the money given to us through the programme we can not only survive but we can turn this pipeline dream into a reality.
“We are really excited for the future and grateful to the Bright Red Triangle team and Santander for this opportunity.”