Case Studies

Innovative ideas spark competition success for Stirling businesses

Local businesswomen take home first and third place in HEAT 18.

15th February 2018

A local businesswoman fought of stiff competition from nearly 30 companies based throughout the Forth Valley area, to be crowned the winner of Business Gateway Forth Valley’s HEAT 18.

Early stage businesses from Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire entered into the fourth annual HEAT competition, organised by Business Gateway, with 10 finalists selected to pitch before a panel of local ‘dragons’ on February 8th in Gean House, Alloa.

Only one could take home the gold, and Nicola Walters of Organisational Elephant used her three minute pitch to wow the five strong judging panel, which included George Burt of the University of Stirling Management School and Zak Stark from Forth Valley College.

The former management consultant used her time to highlight the growth potential of her company, which will launch its magnetic and reusable ‘Flipits’, designed by Nicola as an innovative alternative to sticky notes, later this year.

The Stirling-based entrepreneur, who has been helped by Business Gateway Stirling, took home £1000 worth of business property rental, £500 worth of accounting, tax, bookkeeping and consultancy services, £500 cash, and £250 worth of business mentoring.

Nicola said: “I’m very aware, for any business to grow it needs to be able to get its message across quickly and effectively. Having never pitched before, HEAT allowed me to really focus on what my aims were and get across the company’s potential in a succinct way. I was confident I could do a good job and was over the moon to win.”

The competition also saw KIDZ TOWN ROLE-PLAY pick up bronze, taking home £250 cash and £100 worth of accounting, tax, bookkeeping and consultancy services. Due to open in Stirling City Centre this spring, the enterprise is the brainchild of Jennifer Stirling and Jill Docherty who aim to create a place where children can use their imaginations to learn and have fun.

Jennifer said: “I’d read about the competition in Business Gateway’s e-zine, and because we wanted to let people know about our business idea we entered. It was a fantastic day, and we got to meet others who are also going through the start-up journey. We were shocked and amazed to come third as there were so many other businesses pitching that had great ideas too.”

Lynn Dickson, Business Gateway, said: “We are delighted that two local companies who have benefitted from our support have done so well in the competition. Both fought of stiff competition, but their original business ideas and expert pitching really impressed the judging panel. With our continued support both businesses will do extremely well in their target markets when they launch later this year.”

This year’s awards were sponsored by Stewart Accountancy, the University of Stirling Management School, Forth Valley College, Perfect Penny Marketing, Ceteris, Ecosse Holdings & Storage UK, and

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