Games guru Chris van der Kuyl to inspire young Scots as part of innovation summit

VentureJam will feature young people people taking part in the ‘Energy Innovation Challenge’.

Young Scots are being offered the chance to win a meeting with Scottish entrepreneur and co-founder of 4J Studios, Chris van der Kuyl, as part of VentureJam 2017.

Now in its third year, VentureJam, the youth strand of the national innovation summit, Venturefest Scotland, will host 40 people aged between 14 and 20 as they take part in the ‘Energy Innovation Challenge’ at a hackathon at Glasgow Science Centre from 18 to 20 August. Teams of young people will explore radical ideas that could improve lives whilst supporting the Scottish Government’s vision for the energy system in Scotland to 2050.

Organised by Glasgow City of Science and Innovation and Young Scot, the ‘Jam’ will be supported by mentors from the world of television, gaming, product design and digital media as well as top entrepreneurship experts and energy gurus, to help guide the young people through the challenge developing innovative ideas that will disrupt the energy market.

At the end of the two and half day workshop, two teams with the best ideas for reducing energy use or promoting positive energy behaviours will go head to head, Dragon’s Den-style, to pitch their ideas at Venturefest Scotland on Wednesday 20 September. The winning team will also meet van der Kuyl, whose company is currently working on console editions of Minecraft for Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.

“Scotland’s future belongs to our young people,” said van der Kuyl, “and VentureJam is a really exciting opportunity for them to try and address the issue of how they can re-purpose existing products and tech and develop new disruptive ways of using energy more sustainably. I look forward to meeting the winning team and hopefully inspire these young people in the future.”

Entry is open to all Scots aged 14 to 20 who are interested in working in teams to create new ideas and re-imagine the possibilities of how we live our lives and our relationship with energy. VentureJam is looking for a diverse, lively group of young people from across Scotland with a range of interests from the arts and music to science and gaming, as well as aspiring entrepreneurs. You can apply here.

“New ideas are crucial to the success of our long term energy strategy,” said Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy Paul Wheelhouse. “We already generate more than half of Scotland’s electricity demand from renewable sources, but we must do more to build a truly integrated energy system that meets our power, transport and heat needs now and into the future. Rapidly evolving new technology has already played an important role in our success so far, but there is much still to do. That’s why I am excited by VentureJam 2017, where young people with vision, enthusiasm and commitment, will come together to generate ideas to support us to meet the energy challenges of the future.”

Dr Susie Mitchell, programme director of Glasgow City of Science and Innovation, said: “Innovation has the power to tackle global societal challenges. At VentureJam, Scotland’s young people–our next generation innovators–will be tasked with co-designing fresh and inspiring ideas to tackle our energy guzzling ways, and create a brighter future for our planet”.

Dr Duncan Booker, chief resilience officer of Glasgow City Council added: “We are excited to support VentureJam for the 3rd year running. Resilient and sustainable energy solutions are in need of radical innovation that will improve lives, reduce inequality and drive economic growth. We can wait to see what fresh and inspiring ideas the participants come up with at this year’s Jam to shape Glasgow, and Scotland’s, energy future”.

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot, said: “Each year we are always very impressed to see the range of ideas, creative thinking, and innovation that comes out of VentureJam. It is an exciting opportunity for young people, taking on the incredibly important challenge of helping to improve the environment.”

Leona Seaton, programme director of Developing the Young Workforce – Glasgow, said: “We are delighted to be involved again in supporting this innovative project. Creating opportunities for young people to provide solutions to the issues they have inherited is not only exciting but incredibly important. Re-working the existing model will create jobs for the future. I have been blown away every year with the participants’ ideas and this year promises to be the best yet!”