SML Business Venturing students make drivers aware of cycling safety



L-F:Prof Derek Pattle; Jill Pattle, Far from the Madding Crowd; Alan Coats, Bank of Scotland; Liam McCathie , Dominic Simmons, Luke McMingle, Prof Robert MacIntosh; Dougie Guthrie and Jonathan Lyon

The School of Management and Languages were delighted to welcome representatives from Scotland’s business community as part of its annual Business Venturing competition.

Business Venturing is a Year 3 course in the School of Management and Languages that aims to help students understand the entrepreneurial process by simulating the process and providing hands on experience. Students work in groups to come up with a business idea, develop a business plan, and then present to a panel of advisors including participation from eight managers from the Bank of Scotland.

This year, 26 groups presented their plans and benefited from the panel’s direct feedback on these which they could use to improve their plans before finally submitting their business plans.

The five best groups were then invited to present again for the Best Business Plan presentation which was kindly sponsored by local Linlithgow based business, Far from the Madding Crowd. Continuing their sponsorship from 2014, Far from the Madding Crowd provided book tokens for the winning group, and also generously donated some inspirational books to our library.

2015 Finalists

  • Freely Good, an Edinburgh gluten free restaurant offering choice and excellent value food, supported by high quality service from knowledgeable staff
  • iSERVE, an app designed to help you order food on your smartphone in limited service restaurants, avoiding the queues and makes splitting the bill a lot easier.
  • Flexihanger, manufacturing a flexible hanger that is made from recycled materials that are also easier to use than the conventional clothes hanger.
  • AWARE, an urban cycle safety device that notifies drivers of nearby cyclists
  • Thirst, an environmentally friendly re-fillable bottled that can be filled with your own choice of healthy beverage from re-fill stations.

Professional Standards

Simulating a commercial environment, the judges took on the role of potential investors and each group had just 5 minutes to convince the judges that their businesses had true commercial potential.

The Business Venture course is a key component of our honours programme offering our senior students the opportunity to put all of the theory gathered over their programme of study into practice
Professor Robert MacIntosh, Head of the School of Management and Languages

The judges were:

  • Alan Coats, Senior Manager, SME Banking,  Bank of Scotland
  • Professor Robert Macintosh, Head of School of Management and Languages, Heriot-Watt University
  • Jill Pattle, Owner of Far from the Madding Crowd
  • Derek Pattle, Honorary Professor, Heriot-Watt University

The overall winners were AWARE represented by Liam McCathie, Managing Director; Luke McMingle, Financial Director; Dominic Simmons, Creative Director; Douglas Guthrie, Sales Director and Jonathon Lyon, Marketing Director.

Diverse Innovation

The judges of this year’s competition were again impressed by the consistently diverse and high quality nature of SML’s students.

Alan Coats, Senior Manager SME Banking at Bank of Scotland said, "The standard of presentations in the final this year was incredibly high, indeed the standard in all the rounds was excellent, and congratulations to the winners AWARE.

"Bank of Scotland is delighted to support this initiative each year and help the students develop and prosper in their academic and business careers. It is great to see the high standards of contributions from the students and also a great opportunity for the bank colleagues to support Scottish communities through judging these entrepreneurs of the future.”

Jill Pattle, returning sponsor of Business Venturing said, “Far from the Madding Crowd are very pleased to have the opportunity to support Heriot-Watt’s Business Venturing course. The format successfully creates a great combination of team-work, original entrepreneurial thinking, together with the skills required to pull together a viable Business Plan and then make a live ‘pitch’ for the necessary funding. Combined with the element of competition, all of this gives students an insight into the though process and thrill of starting a business.”

Professor Robert MacIntosh, Head of the School of Management and Languages, was proud of how SML’s Business Venturing students had represented the School’s academic programmes in a professional setting. He said, "The Business Venture course is a key component of our honours programme offering our senior students the opportunity to put all of the theory gathered over their programme of study into practice. As ever, the standard was high and it was particularly pleasing to see a real diversity of business ideas that had been well researched and which had clear competitive strategies. Our external panel members left impressed by the standard of the work being done within the School."