Entrepreneurial talent advances in the Santander Awards



Euan Bowen, Managing Director of Hit Ltd in the Business Enterprise Hub at GRID

Tomorrow's innovators will take centre stage at the UK's largest business pitching competition, as Heriot-Watt's nominee reaches the semi-final of the 2019 Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards.

As a Santander UK university partner, Heriot-Watt selected one of their best incubator start-ups to participate in the prestigious entrepreneurship awards competition.

Heriot-Watt University selected Euan Bowen, Managing Director for HIT Ltd. Based in the business school incubator, Euan has developed an innovative wearable device which attaches onto scrumcaps to indicate, and recognise, the force of head impact trauma during contact sports.

An athlete suffering from concussion can experience headaches, dizziness and nausea, but occasionally symptoms can be less obvious. Left untreated, or aggravated during contact sport, can result in a serious brain injury which may increase the risk of degenerative brain diseases in later life. The 2019 Rugby World Cup will implement the most comprehensive player welfare standards the tournament has ever seen, but Euan's solution can flag potentially dangerous head injuries and protect athletes at the grassroots level.  

In an interview inside the new GRID at Heriot-Watt, Euan said: “I'm excited to progress onto the semi-final stage. Competition is fierce this year, because the awards have received more entries than ever before, but I'm looking forward to working with the Enterprise team at Heriot-Watt to meet the challenge head on”.

The first stage of the competition began with submission of a two-minute video with clear explanation of the business concept, how the solution will solve problems and evidence that winning the competition would develop the company. 

Euan passed the criteria with flying colours to progress onto the semi-final stage and the regional heats at the end of this month. The semi-final will see twenty of the best start-ups, from universities across the region, pitch for their place on the competition's accelerator week and the national final.

Regional heats will involve a five-minute pitch to an experienced panel of judges. This is followed by scrutiny of the business model, the target market and the impact of the solution during an intense Q&A. 

Dr Gillian Murray, Deputy Principal for Enterprise and Business at Heriot-Watt University, said: “Heriot-Watt is focused on nurturing entrepreneurial talent to pioneer solutions which solve pressing societal problems. Over the last two years we have introduced a new Entrepreneurial Journey to support our staff and students. It is great for our entrepreneurs to receive the recognition they deserve. This is a remarkable achievement for Euan. We are extremely proud of what he has already achieved and his story will inspire others in the future”.

The Santander Universities programme is committed towards developing entrepreneurial talent through mentoring, start-up support and cash-incentivised awards.

Heriot-Watt University was one of only five UK university partners to receive £100k in funding as part of Santander Universities' Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Fund.