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Entrepreneurial Challenge: Getting innovative with ScottishPower-Iberdrola

By Matthew Hannon - Posted on 22 November 2017

Dr Matthew Hannon, Chancellor’s Fellow of Technology and Innovation at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, puts the spotlight on an Entrepreneurial Challenge open to students across the University.

Last year’s Scottish Power-Iberdrola Entrepreneurial Challenge drew a lot of interest from students from different disciplinary backgrounds and degrees at Strathclyde, allowing them to develop their own great ideas for new energy businesses and technologies.

In essence the competition is designed to help students with novel ideas take the first step towards becoming tomorrow's leaders of the UK energy sector.

We were delighted with the calibre of business proposal we received from students and, whilst it was extremely difficult to select just one winner, in the end PhD students Bartosz Soltowski and Jonathan Bowes were triumphant. They secured victory with their Smart Grids for Development concept which outlined the design and development of direct-current micro-grids for use in developing countries. Winning the competition meant they received over £4,000 of funding to further develop their ideas, one-to-one mentoring, expert training and the chance to pitch their ideas to executives at Iberdrola's Innovation Week in Madrid.

Runners-up were Jack Galliford, Leo McKeever and David Dunphy for their Bladerunner idea, an autonomous robotic monitoring for wind turbine blade health and performance, and Parikas Prusinskas for his MicroRecycling idea, an on-site recycling system to convert low-grade plastics into fuel via pyrolysis.

We were impressed with the calibre and diversity of students' proposals, showing the depth and breadth of innovation and entrepreneurship taking place across the University.

Such activity is crucial for the energy sector given the joint challenges of climate change, energy poverty and energy security. Furthermore, innovation is the lifeblood of economic growth and critical to helping the Scottish economy recover from the downturn of its oil and gas industry.

We’re delighted that Iberdrola is supporting this challenge for 2017/18. Participants are offered seed funding, expert coaching and valuable industry connections to translate their initial ideas in to successful innovations.

Teams can win up to £13,000 of seed funding, with prizes awarded to both competition winners and runners up. Winners receive an all-expenses paid trip to Madrid to take part in Iberdrola's 'Innovation Week' in 2018. Projects will be showcased, teams can pitch their business idea to Iberdrola executives and they will also get the chance to become part of an international network of entrepreneurs including other winners from parallel Iberdrola Challenge Programmes from across five universities from the UK, US, Mexico and Spain.

The Challenge is open to all current University of Strathclyde students, and alumni who have graduated since January 2017. The deadline for applications is February 4, 2018, so if you're interested please do begin preparing your submission. We also have a drop-in session planned for November 27. Here, you will hear more about the programme and potential proposal themes, as well as an opportunity to ask questions. 

I’m really looking forward to seeing the new, innovative ideas this year's competition will reveal. I urge anyone interested to attend our drop-in session and consider submitting a proposal to take part in this potentially life-changing competition.

The drop-in session takes place from 3-4pm Monday 27th November in Cathedral Wing 506b in the Business School. For more information on the competition, click here. To register for the drop-in session, please contact Heather Brown.



Contact details

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 +44 (0)141 548 4114
 sbs-adviser@strath.ac.uk 

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