A Scottish tech entrepreneur has partnered with an Edinburgh university to create a £27,000 prize fund for digital media content creators.

George Mackintosh, owner of Papple Steading in East Lothian, has created the Papple Steading Digital Media Prize for students and recent graduates at Queen Margaret University (QMU).

Emerging digital content producers have been given the chance to produce engaging digital media with their medium of choice. The work should “celebrate agricultural and food heritage in the Lothians” through the centuries.

Two successful groups of applicants will be awarded prizes of £4,500 per team to undertake the work submitted, while the winning work will be displayed within the heritage centre at Papple Steading.

Mackintosh bought Papple Steading in 2017. It is one of Britain’s historic ‘model farms’ of agricultural improvement and once sat in Whittingehame Estate, which belonged to Arthur Balfour, British Prime Minister from 1902 to 1905.

The tech mogul has plans to feature an agricultural heritage museum, business destination and a community centre at the steading.

Inverness-born Mackintosh sold his award-winning business, Eggplant, for $330m in 2020 to Californian investor Keysight Technologies. In 1996, he also founded an audio, video and web conferencing business – Geoconference – in Glasgow, which was sold to US company CenturyLink in 2000.

Mackintosh said: “East Lothian has a wonderful industrial, seafaring and agricultural heritage. This partnership with QMU will bring to digital life the stories of how our agricultural heritage changed the county’s social and physical landscape and how innovators in this part of Scotland had a huge impact on the development of farming and food production around the world. And my father was a farmer, and my mother trained at QMU.”

Professor David Stevenson, Acting Dean of QMU’s School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management (ASSAM), said: “This is a great opportunity for our students and graduates to bring the stories of our shared agricultural history to life, whilst also gaining the practical experience of turning a concept into a viable pitch and budget. This is the beginning of a very exciting partnership with Papple Steading, and we are very grateful for their support.”

The competition will run for at least three years, resulting in £27,000 worth of support to QMU.

The digital content will be some of the first displayed in the museum.