Winning students crowned in What’s the Big Idea!? initiative


Two students with big ideas have been named as winners of an entrepreneurial competition at New College Lanarkshire.

Margaret Webster and William Campbell, both students at our Motherwell Campus, have been crowned winners of What’s the Big Idea!?

The scheme, which is a collaboration between the College, Bridge 2 Business, The Prince’s Trust, Business Gateway and Scottish Institute for Enterprise, involved students submitting ideas for a business venture.

The entries were whittled down to a shortlist of six, with local entrepreneurs Nick Cohen of IT service company PCR and Steven Reynolds of Micro Fitness joining a judging panel to decide the winners.

Margaret Webster from Lesmahagow impressed with the ingredients for her start-up catering business ZAfire Foods, which specialises in a South African street food known as Bunny Chow.

A student of NC Bakery Silver, she was looking for support to take the next step of selling at food festivals – and is using her studies to perfect her cookery skills.

Margaret said: “Being a winner in the competition was awesome. There were some really good ideas from all the contestants.

“I am really passionate about my idea, and it was great to have interest shown by the judges on the panel.

“I have met up with Ross Brand from the Learner Engagement team since winning and I will have the opportunity to sell on campus in the future.”

William Campbell, 24, from Motherwell, combines his studies in HNC Business Management with working as a professional photographer.

His business idea is to create a web-based automated payment handling service that could be used by everyone from photographers and freelance writers to joiners and wedding planners.

William said: “Winning the competition means that other people believe in my idea and feel it is worthy to try out in the real world.

“My aim for my business is to become recognised within the services industry and be a preferred system for customers to use when working with trades people.

“The goal is to minimise the financial loss incurred by either the service provider or the customer and building strong, trusting relationships through a network of professional traders whom customers can rely on.”

Margaret and William both received certificates of recognition in addition to a FitBit.

The runner-up in the competition was Grace Ann Renicks from Coatbridge. An Access to Counselling student at our Coatbridge Campus, she wants to grow her Bespoke Blossoms venture, which involves creating timeless keepsakes for clients.

Grace Ann will receive tickets to a Performing Arts production as well as a certificate of recognition.

Mario Alonzi from Business Gateway hosted a pitching workshop for the shortlisted candidates ahead of the judging session.

Sukie Grewall, Enterprise Executive at Young Enterprise Scotland who chaired the judging panel, commented: “It was an absolute pleasure working with New College Lanarkshire and the other support agencies on What’s the Big Idea!?

“This competition proved a fantastic opportunity for identifying students with creative and innovative ideas by supporting them step-by-step with the right skills, information and workshops, and then to see them do extremely well in front of a panel of entrepreneurs was absolutely amazing!

“Bridge 2 Business looks forward to working with New College Lanarkshire in the near future on similar initiatives.”

Stuart Matson, Community Programmes Manager for New College Lanarkshire, said: “I would like to congratulate William and Margaret on their excellent entries and involvement at all stages of the initiative.

“All of our partners were delighted with the result of What’s the Big Idea!?, which has highlighted the services they offer in terms of guidance, support and funding.

“We hope this will be the first in a series of initiatives that encourages and develops a spirit of entrepreneurship in our students.”

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