Joe Gibson

Scotland’s status as a hotbed for innovative new ideas has been underlined as the winners of the Scottish Institute for Enterprise Catalyst Award are announced today (17 June 2020).

Four students from Scottish universities have been awarded an equal share of a £16,000 cash prize and will now go on to receive two years of dedicated support from leading advisors as they accelerate their business startups.

More than 70 students from the University of Edinburgh, University of Abertay, University of Dundee, University of Strathclyde, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Glasgow and Robert Gordon University entered this year’s Catalyst Award programme which recognises the very best of early-stage ventures.

A shortlist of 16 students pitched online on to a panel of judges on 11 and 12 June and included a range of innovative business ideas across the architecture, transport, technology, tourism, beauty, education, and fashion industries.

The successful students and their business ideas are:

  • Marwa Ebrahim, a University of Glasgow graduate with Atypical Cosmetics - skincare products uniquely tailored to the needs of each customer through AI-powered customisation


  • Joe Gibson, a University of Strathclyde student with Gibson Robotics which is developing a kinetic counter-drone solution controlled by AI to maintain safe airspace around national infrastructure


  • Hamish Geddes, a University of Edinburgh graduate with Lenz 'Traction Hub' - a solution for improving traction on railway lines, combating the problem of icy weather or leaves on the line disrupting travel through the use of electromagnetism


  • David Robertson, a University of Edinburgh graduate with Thistle Rocketry Ltd – a single payload rocketry designed for deploying cube satellites without the logistical difficulties of piggybacking on a larger, multi-payload launch

Fiona Godsman, Chief Executive of Scottish Institute for Enterprise, said: “The SIE Catalyst Award recognises talented students in Scotland that are developing technologies that have the potential to create global impact.

“Now more than ever, our students and budding entrepreneurs need reassurance that they have the support they need to develop their innovation and leadership abilities as we live through unpredictable times.

“As we all adapt to new models of working, SIE is committed to working with universities and colleges to enhance their offering through dedicated training, workshops and online learning opportunities for students who want to start their own business or social enterprises. Scotland has a vibrant network of innovators and future leaders that we have a responsibility to champion.”

SIE will continue to support all shortlisted finalists to help take their startup ventures to the next level.

Kate Buckle
Article by Kate Buckle
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