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What price for 'A Piece of Scotland'?

By Jennifer Lynn - Posted on 19 March 2013

Jennifer Lynn is a Strathclyde Business School undergraduate, studying Marketing and Entrepreneurship. Here she discusses her experience of entering a unique product into an entrepreneurial competition…

As a group of Strathclyde Business students, with a keen interest in developing our own ideas, when the Scottish Institute for Enterprise competition was made known to us, we were eager to enter. This competition required a ‘New Idea’ which fell into one of the given categories, for the chance to win up to £1,500. ‘Sustainability in the Environment’ was the perfect category for us to enter, as we had already formed a social venture as part of our coursework.

‘A Piece of Scotland’. Literally and metaphorically. This is our business idea: selling a piece of Scotland as a product and as a brand. This will be done through selling purely Scottish products, primarily ‘air in a bottle’. Although customers will not be buying solely for the product but for what the product represents, sustaining Scotland for the future. There is also an ecological twist with all products being recycled while we will be donating a large percentage of our profits to Scottish National Parks.

With different stages in the competition, SIE kept us busy with various day visits to Dundee and Edinburgh. A particular event worth a mention is the SIE Start-up Day, which gave us the opportunity to meet fellow entrepreneurs from different universities, share our ideas, and do some valuable networking and team-building exercises. It was very interesting to see the variety of ideas and how the other students communicate their ideas.

Upon being shortlisted to the Top 10 in the New Ideas competition, ‘A Piece of Scotland’ continued to develop, and eventually we reached the final. This consisted of a trip to Edinburgh for a five minute pitch in the “dragons den”. In the lead up to this, while we were preparing, an SIE employee, Tony, met with us to practice in the most unlikely of places, a Glasgow café. This was incredibly useful, as we formed a new business contact, gained more confidence in our idea, and were given some very useful tips.

Before long, it was time to face the “dragons”. In a flash, it was over and the “interrogation” began. Knowing how hard it is to please the “dragons”, we were nervous about the questions that they would ask, though we were quietly confident that we knew our business inside out. After a few questions, we had done all that we could do. All that was left was to wait on the final verdict. After an apprehensive few days, the winners were announced…and ‘A Piece of Scotland’ did not make the cut. Disappointment, frustration and dismay quickly followed. Though, taking some of their comments from the “den” on board, we have altered and developed our idea further. With many plans for the future, other competitions to enter and potentially a very successful and ecological business ahead, ‘A Piece of Scotland’ is not over yet. If anything, our defeat has motivated us to strive harder for success. After meeting Tony again and informing him of this, we were met with some motivating and inspiring words: “In the X Factor, more often than not, it is the runners up that become the stars, not the actual winners”. With perseverance, determination and ambition, ‘A Piece of Scotland’ will succeed.

If you wish to follow our progress, please ‘like' us on Facebook or visit our website at http://www.apieceofscotland.com/

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