Ambitious plans in pipeline

A mentoring session at the Start Up St Andrews entrepreneur event. (Photo by Peter Adamson)
A mentoring session at the Start Up St Andrews entrepreneur event. (Photo by Peter Adamson)

Many came but there could be only one winner in the inaugural Startup St Andrews event last weekend.

And by all accounts, the business idea of St Andrews Collect to tackle the problem of recycling household glass locally was a very worthy winner.

Startup St Andrews aims to identify, encourage and support excellence in entrepreneurship and the first gathering has set the bar high.

Around 60 entered participants travelled from as far afield as London and Leicester and included students from the University of St Andrews’ international student body.

The format was like a weekend-long version of hit TV show ‘The Apprentice’, with the final successful candidates then facing the scrutiny of a ‘Dragon’s Den’ of successful business people and potential backers.

Everyone first presented their business ideas, which were then voted on by all participants and the most popular concepts were adopted for further work over the weekend.

Teams of up to five people were then formed, with individuals choosing the idea they felt most strongly attracted to.

The teams were supported by a group of experienced business professionals in a mentoring capacity but the competitors were responsible for doing all of the hard work to build a fledgling company.

On Sunday evening, each of the five teams then had the daunting task of pitching their business plan to a panel of judges.

The winning and runner-up teams were rewarded with a range of prizes including cash, tickets for entrepreneurship events, expert coaching sessions and the opportunity to present their business to investors in the coming weeks.

Winner was a team called ‘St Andrews Collect’, which plans to tackle the problem of recycling household glass in St Andrews and surrounding areas.

The runner up team, ‘Nom’, created a phone app which would simplify food shopping, reduce food waste and make healthy meal planning a simple task.

The judges were Russell Dalgleish of Exolta Capital; Kallum Russell of Rosyth-based Acorn Enterprise Initiative; Peter Grant of Dunfermline-based Middlebank Consultancy, and University of St Andrews Enterprise Advisor Bonnie Hacking.

All of the judges were extremely impressed by the standard of business ideas and the presentations.

Huw Bell, founder of Startup St Andrews, said: “We had five fantastic entries in our final ‘Dragons’ Den’ phase.

“The winning team came up with a great plan to collect and recycle glass in the town and potentially beyond. I look forward to seeing their business grow in the future.”