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Harper Macleod marks 10 years of support for CREATE's Highlands and Islands Business Competition

Law firm Harper Macleod is delighted to be supporting the University of the Highlands and Islands Business Competition – with 2018 marking a decade-long association with the event.

Entries for this year's competition are now open, with budding entrepreneurs invited to apply to be in with a chance of winning a share of a £6500 prize pot. This year's event includes special cash prizes for business ideas with engineering insight.

Finalists will also receive feedback from some of the region’s top entrepreneurs and business advisers – including Harper Macleod - and get support on how to take their idea forward. Anyone interested can apply online at www.createhighland.com by 31st October and you do not require a business plan to enter.

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Chris Kerr, Lead Partner of Harper Macleod in the Highlands and Islands, said: "We're delighted to be lending our support to the Business Competition once again. Over the decade we've been involved there have been some brilliant ideas and great success stories, and we're sure the next generation of entrepreneurs and budding business people will add more this time around. As a business which has itself grown in Inverness and the wider Highlands and Islands, we're committed to the growth and development of the business community. We also have a huge amount of experience advising start-up and high-growth enterprises and we look forward to sharing that with the successful entrants."

Run by CREATE, the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Centre for Enterprise and Innovation based at Inverness College UHI, the Business Competition is now in its 13th year and supports and encourages people to take the first steps on the road to starting their own business.

The competition is open to all students studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands as well as non-students living in the Highlands and Islands, Moray and Perthshire, and last year attracted more than 115 entries.

Entries will be shortlisted to 15 and finalists will be invited to meet the competition judges to discuss their idea further at the Finals Day of the Business Competition at Inverness College UHI on 22nd November.

Last year’s top prize went to former Inverness College UHI student Paul Beaulieu (42), from Milton, Invergordon, who took home a cash prize of £1500 and a combined legal and accountancy package worth £2000. Paul, a former HND Engineering Systems student, came up with an ingenious idea to revolutionise how pipes are fabricated and fitted together, designing a pipe contour profiler.

Dr Carol Langston, Head of CREATE, said: “Entrepreneurship is vital if we are to develop as an economy. Often people have a business idea, but they don’t know what to do with it, or who to turn to for help. That’s where CREATE comes in. We work with people to encourage them to be ambitious, bold and creative in their thinking, with the aim of encouraging innovation. Our expert team will work one-to-one with finalists to develop their entrepreneurial flair and help them take forward their business idea, with the chance to win cash to help them on their way. This year will see an additional focus on engineering and we’re particularly keen to see start-up ideas.”

The University of the Highlands and Islands Business Competition has attracted more than 1300 entries since it was launched 13 years ago and has awarded more than £65,000.

Apply online at www.createhighland.com by 31st October 2018. No business plan required.

CREATE Business Competition