Borders-based angel investment group TRI Cap launched its Young Entrepreneur Competition with an evening final held at St. Mary’s School, Melrose on 10th March. Initially the brief was to produce an Executive Summary of an original business idea and a team from TRI Cap worked with the children and helped them to prepare presentations for the final. A total of £250 in prize money was on offer so competition was fierce.
The judging panel for the night was chaired by Paul Murray who is a professional investor and Vice Chairman of Rangers Football Club. The other judges were Paul Yuskaitis, a director of TRI Cap with experience of early stage companies in both Scotland and the United States, and Kathy Kinder, TRI Cap’s investment manager.
The entrants came from the school’s Year 7. Eleven teams took part and entries included a Gym Generator which converts treadmill energy into electricity, Christmas tree recycling and a female-only handy person service for the Borders.
In third place was Steaming Goggles, an innovative solution for a common problem with swimming goggles by Anna Scott and Louisa Forbes. In second place was L & M Drone Roof & Building Inspectors which uses a drone to survey hard-to-reach areas. This project was presented by Lachaln Ferguson and Mauz Chaudhry.
First prize went to Elpies; a simple rubber attachment for pencils which not only provides a shock absorber to prevent pencil leads from breaking, but also acts as a ‘fiddle aid’ to help concentration.
Paul Murray said: “We particularly liked the simplicity of the idea and the range of uses this product has, not just in practical terms but also as a collectible. Joseph Ward and Liam Buchanan had put together a really impressive presentation and they answered even the most difficult questions with great assurance.”
Kathy Kinder said: “We were hugely impressed by the time, effort and hard work that had gone into these presentations. Of course the reality of angel investment is very different to Dragons’ Den. TRI Cap invests in new and established businesses in the Scottish Borders and North of England, looking to take them on to the next level. We provide not only funding but also strategic guidance and board level support. None of the projects we saw this evening are quite ready for that yet!”
Paul Yuskaitis added: “There are no immediate plans to put any of these business ideas into action but it was really encouraging to see such a range of great ideas. I’d love to have come up with some of them myself!”
TRI Cap is currently considering ways to further develop the Young Entrepreneur Competition across the Borders in 2017.