Youngsters pitch to win face-to-face session with games guru

VentureJam 2017Three teams of young Scots aged 14 to 20 are preparing to go head-to-head, when they pitch their ideas to tackle future energy challenges in front of Scotland’s leading investors at Venturefest Scotland this week. The teams – Volts and Jolts, Girl Power, and Fishing for Fusion – were the shortlisted finalists last month at VentureJam 2017, the youth strand for Venturefest Scotland.

Now in its third year, the hackathon-style event – delivered by Young Scot and Glasgow City of Science and Innovation – attracted a record number of applicants.

This year the organisers set a challenge of re-purposing existing products and technology to develop new ways of using energy more sustainably, whilst driving home the message that we all have a part to play in achieving a resilient and sustainable energy future.

The challenge was set against the backdrop of Scottish Government’s vision for the future energy system in Scotland, as outlined in the draft Scottish Energy Strategy.

The ideas that the teams came up with included genetically modified moss that glows to reduce the need for street lights, an overhaul of the sewage system combining existing clean energy technologies, and a personal energy tracker app which rewards positive behavioural change.

The ‘Jam’ was supported by a team of mentors from television, gaming, product design, and digital media, as well as entrepreneurship and energy expert.

The young people worked in groups to generate their best ideas before presenting these to the rest of the VentureJam participants in a friendly competition.

The finalist teams are now preparing to pitch their game-changing ideas, ‘Dragon’s Den’ style, to top innovation experts at Venturefest Scotland tomorrow.

The winners will receive an investment prize from Social Investment Scotland, and a face-to-face session with Scottish entrepreneur and games guru, Chris van der Kuyl.

Van der Kuyl, whose company is working on console editions of Minecraft for Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, will share his advice for young aspiring entrepreneurs with the lucky winners.

The team’s pitches will form part of the Pitchfest! stream of Venturefest, where delegates will have the opportunity to learn how to pitch, find out why pitching matters, see how others pitch, and learn what potential funders might want to know.

The rest of the VentureJam 2017 participants will also get the chance to showcase their disruptive energy solutions to Scotland’s innovation community at the VentureJam exhibition stand at Venturefest Scotland.

Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “VentureJam has proved yet again to be a great success in inspiring Scotland’s young people. The three finalists have come up with some exciting and highly innovative ideas on how we can better use energy in the future – from overhauling our street lights and sewage system to a new energy tracker app.

“The enthusiasm demonstrated by all participants shows that, if we can capitalise on the ingenuity of our young people, Scotland can, and will, remain a world leader in renewable energy for many years to come, and I look forward to hearing more about the winner at the final of VentureFest.”

Dr Susie Mitchell, programme director of Glasgow City of Science and Innovation, said: “VentureJam 2017 was our best and biggest yet, and I’m looking forward to the grand final at Venturefest Scotland.”

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot, said: “It is inspiring to see young people in Scotland so invested in promoting a sustainable environment. VentureFest will give Scotland’s young innovators a chance to shine. We know the attendees at VentureFest will be blown away by the ideas on offer.”

The VentureJam 2017 Energy Innovation Challenge is supported by Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council, Sustainable Glasgow, Social Investment Scotland, Venturefest Scotland, Developing the Young Workforce Glasgow, and Glasgow Science Centre. For more information, visit www.glasgowcityofscience.com or www.young.scot.