Clothing brand tops roll of honour at innovation and enterprise awards event
A former student who launched a clothing brand with products made from recycled tents was the big winner at the third Bright Red Sparks awards.
Media companies and initiatives set up to tackle child poverty and drive student enterprise were also among the winners at the event, which showcases innovative products and services developed by start-ups, spinouts, fledging companies and entrepreneurs.
The popular awards, an initiative of Edinburgh Napier’s Bright Red Triangle enterprise hub, were this year held online as a Facebook live event on Tuesday evening.
Students, staff and alumni from across the University community competed for more than £10,000 in prizes, and alumnus James Marshall’s 10T clothing brand emerged as a double category winner.
James, whose venture sees tents abandoned at music festivals turned into hats, bumbags and jackets, won a surprise extra award too; the Moonshot Award, chosen from all finalists by law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn to benefit from £3,700 of legal support and advice. To cap a great night, James was also announced as Edinburgh Napier’s entrant into the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards.
The awards saw 19 shortlisted enterprises across six categories assessed for everything from the viability of their ideas and clarity of planning to thoroughness of research and potential for growth.
The Bright Red Sparks Awards 2020 winners were announced as;
Bright Ideas (£2000 prize + in-kind support)
10T clothing brand (James Marshall). Products are made from recycled or upcycled materials. The first collection is a jacket, bum bag, bucket hat and duffle bag made from recycled tents collected from music festivals. James said: “'I am over the moon to win the Bright Ideas, Business for Good and Moonshot Awards, and to be Edinburgh Napier's entrant into the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards. I am still in shock but absolutely buzzing to see where it can take me.”
Business for Good (£2000 prize)
10T clothing brand (James Marshall)
Going for Growth (£2000 prize + in-kind support)
High Tide film and video production (Alex Porter-Smith, Eathan Currie). Edinburgh Napier alumni who specialise in creating high end online film and video content for a range of clients. Alex said: “The cash award will enable us to support our activities over the next few months while continuing to grow our business, but we’re particularly excited about the in-kind support from Shepherd and Wedderburn and Morton Ward – their advice will be invaluable when planning the next stages.”
Active Citizens (£1000 prize)
pRESPECT reducing child poverty (Viana Maya, Karsten Huttenhain). Current students aiming to empower under-represented and diverse individuals to access meaningful and sustainable employment using drama techniques, technology and research. They said: "We are grinning from ear to ear. This has added a wee skip to our stride as we strive to give our amazing, talented prospects just that tiny boost into meaningful work."
Enterprising Educators (£2000 prize)
Design for Professional Practice career development (Ruth Cochrane) Fourth year Product and Interior Design module used as a platform to develop the University’s enterprise strategy by embedding undergraduate development opportunities. Ruth said: “I’m delighted to win this Bright Red Sparks Enterprising Educator award in recognition of the support we offer our amazing students to become entrepreneurs. We hope to use the prize fund to expand our work in creating inclusive pathways, encouraging and enabling our graduates to start businesses and create employment in an uncertain future.”
Freelancer of the Year (£1000 prize + in-kind support)
Bright Edge Media video storytelling (John Matheson) Current television student using his skills to create content which supports charities in telling their stories. John said: “This is a huge encouragement. The experience of Graphic Designer Pro in utilising video communication will be really helpful to me as I take Bright Edge Media forward.”
Nick Fannin, Head of Enterprise at Edinburgh Napier, said: “These are strange and uncertain times and so it was important for us to celebrate the Bright Red Sparks Awards and all the enterprising students, staff and alumni at the University. These awards and the cash and in-kind support that goes with them is going to be so important to our winners in the current challenging environment.
“It’s also great to be able to recognise the hard work of all the applicants and to remind everyone that life goes on and that businesses can adapt and still grow.
“Of course we couldn’t have done it without the amazing support from our generous supporters and sponsors, Shepherd and Wedderburn, Morton Ward, Graphic Designer Pro, Santander Universities and the Moffat Charitable Trust.”
John Morrison, Senior Associate at Shepherd and Wedderburn, said: “The quality of entries in the Bridge Red Sparks competition was, again, extremely impressive and all of the finalists deserve to be commended on the fantastic businesses they are each creating. We wish all of the finalists every success and look forward to supporting the Going for Growth and Moonshot Award winners, High Tide Media and 10T, to scale their respective businesses.”
Ewan Morton, Managing Director, Morton Ward, said: “Congratulations to James from 10T and to all of this year’s finalists in what is one of the premier entrepreneurship competitions in Scotland’s Higher Education sector. It's fantastic to see young entrepreneurs rising to the challenges of the modern world with businesses that embrace environmental sustainability and the circular economy. Morton Ward are delighted to be associated with the competition and we are looking forward to working with James as part of his prize.”
Dominic Bargeton, Director, Graphic Designer Pro, said: "We were delighted to be asked to support the Bright Red Triangle, Bright Red Sparks competition. It's such a good opportunity for driven and creative students to showcase their talents. We are looking forward to working more with Bright Red Triangle and their pool of talented entrepreneurs in the future.”