Sporting Chance Initiative

Student businesses have a sporting chance

Three young entrepreneurs have shared a £15,000 cash prize in a competition rewarding new ideas that can be turned into sports businesses.

The Sports Innovation Challenge run by Stirling University’s Sporting Chance Initiative is for students and recent graduates of Scottish universities and is supported by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), Stirling University Innovation Park, and the Scottish Institute for Enterprise.

Ryan Carenduff, Innovation Accelerator at Sporting Chance Initiative said: “ In this, our first year, we have engaged with 11 Universities and more than 200 students, helping them to develop sports related ideas and turn them into future business opportunities.

“Entrepreneurship and innovation are so fundamental to Scotland’s future economic growth that this type of support is vital for students to develop confidence and new skills.”

Apart from the cash prize the winners receive free incubator space in Stirling University Innovation Park, and mentoring from a dedicated business advisor.

The Sporting Chance Initiative has supported 693 small to medium sized enterprises, since its formation in 2011 creating/safeguarding an estimated 522 jobs and adding a predicted £6.04 million to their collective turnover.

The winners were:

David HunterDavid Hunter (33), a post graduate student in Design Technology from the University of Edinburgh and founder of “Shot Scope”.  This is a wearable technology product that will revolutionise how golf performance data is collected.  The patent pending technology automatically collects scoring, statistics and analytics, allowing the golfer to focus on playing the game.  The technology has been proven through trials with the Sports Technology Institute at Loughborough University.  David and the team at Shot Scope are working on the commercial product with a planned UK release date of November 2015.     David grew up and lives in Armadale and went to Armadale Academy. He has had tremendous support for trials at Bathgate Golf Club.

Jamie KunkaJamie Kunka, a graduate in Product Design from Dundee University.   His business idea is a company Lonely Mountain Skis, a Scottish ski company specialising in high performance handmade skis for the backcountry skiing market –his target audience is adventure skiers who are looking for a product in tune with the environment.   Jamie is a passionate skier himself, from Aberdeen but after graduating from university he moved to the countryside near Dunkeld to start the business. The skis are all handmade in Birnam.

Michael HarkinsMichael Harkins (22) – a pharmaceutical chemistry undergraduate from Heriot Watt University. Michael is developing an idea for the next generation of swimming aids, which will revolutionise the Learn to Swim market. Michael and his sister Lisa are swimming instructors at Livingston & District Dolphins – who were crowned as the first ‘Club of the Year’ by Scottish Swimming. They were both competitive swimmers who trained 20 hours per week at the peak of their career at their high school St. Margaret’s Academy, where Lisa was also the Head Girl last year. Both granddad’s were engineers and desired to invent something one day; however neither of them were successful in their ventures. Therefore Michael dedicates his victory to his grandparents and hopes that winning the Sports Innovation Challenge is just the beginning of a fruitful journey.

Judges included Stirling’s Bruce Walker (20) founder of a company called We Are The Future. He created We Are The Future as a Social Enterprise when at school (Wallace High School, Stirling) to encourage young people to consider starting their own businesses as an alternate a career.

The other judges were Professor Leigh Robinson, Head of School of Sport,The University of Stirling, Jonny Curley, director Anytime Leisure, Edel Tucker – Design Director Adidas, and Bonamy Grimes, co-founder of flight comparison company Skyscanner.

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