A local success story is proving inspiration for hundreds of university students at a regional enterprise day taking place on Thursday 17th November at the Ayr Campus of the University of the West of Scotland (UWS)
The regional enterprise event, which will cover everything from sparking your idea to the practicalities of setting up your own business, licensing, marketing and achieving commercial success, is part of a month long programme of activities organised by the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) to encourage, inspire and develop the spirit of enterprise among students at Scottish universities.
Giglets Ltd, which was formed in 2007 by students while they were in their sixth year at secondary school in Ayrshire, is one such example. Giglets Limited is an e-books publishing company of illustrated and adapted classics for children and adults. The innovative publishing company writes, illustrates and publishes their own educational books and other materials for children, by adapting classics to give them modern day appeal.
The original idea for Giglets was formed by school friends, Craig Johnstone and Tom Brodie-Browne while they were in their sixth year at Loudoun Academy, in Galston, Ayrshire. They left school to set up the business with six other students and their first adaptation was of Robert Burns’ epic, Tam O Shanter, featuring the adventures of Tam O’Haggis, a tartan bonnet wearing haggis, who like the original character, gets up to all sorts of adventures starting in Alloway. The illustrated book includes a read-along CD for very young or visually impaired readers, and supporting software including a teachers' workbook.
The students went on to attend university and college and continued to run Giglets during their college and university studies with considerable success. Giglets sold 3500 books through commercial outlets and 4000 books to various schools around Scotland, local education authorities and other educational institutions.
According to Johnstone who is now 22 and living in Darvel in East Ayrshire, SIE were instrumental in Giglets success and continue to play an integral role in development of the company. “When I first contacted SIE for advice, I was in my first or second year at university and we were in the early stages of expansion. They provided important advice on that improved the efficiency and operational day to day running of our business. They also provided invaluable opportunities to meet other student entrepreneurs and benefit from listening to their experiences, which was an important network for me at the time. “I graduated in June but I continue to receive support from my SIE advisor, Liz Walsh, who is helping us with new business and fast tracking us into Scottish Enterprise high growth pipelines.”
Explaining his future plans for the business, Johnstone says he would like to increase the appeal of classic literature by broadening its consumer appeal. “We are increasingly looking towards literacy and language development and ways of making classic literature appeal to the majority. By end of March 2012 we will aim to have produced 30 e-books, contributing to one percent of new literature to the Scottish publishing market, which is quite an achievement. We also want to explore avenues where English is learned as a second language and just last week, we signed a contract with the Gaelic Book Council and an organisation called Storlann to put one of our ebooks into Gaelic, which they then will distribute to every pupil in Scotland receiving Gaelic education.”
Commenting SIE chief executive, Fiona Godsman said, “Giglets Ltd is a great example of the entrepreneurial talent that exists in our universities and colleges. These regional enterprise days are aimed at harnessing that enthusiasm and talent and providing opportunities and support that will inspire and encourage more young people like Craig Johnstone and his team, to become Scotland’s next generation of successful entrepreneurs.”
The Ayr regional enterprise day will include presentations by Colin McGregor of BigMacGProductions; Consol Efomi of Make that Move; Liz Walsh at SIE; Jason Robertson at University of West of Scotland, and Gordon White of Fatbuzz.
Students interested in attending the event should visit www.sie.co.uk and register their interest.
Issued on behalf of SIE by Jen Nash, Panache Communications Ltd. Tel. 07971 466 220 e. firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively please contact Scott McKellar at the Scottish Institute for Enterprise on t. 0141 330 8788 or visit www.sie.ac.uk
NOTES TO EDITORS
Established in 1999, the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) aims to foster a culture of entrepreneurship among students in Scottish universities by equipping them with the enterprise skills, and providing the support and resources for students to start up and grow their own business or social enterprise.
Funded by the Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Enterprise and ERDF, SIE works with all nineteen of Scotland’s higher education institutions to increase the number of students who consider entrepreneurship a real career option during and after their studies. A dedicated team of SIE advisors help students discover their entrepreneurial talent through hands-on learning opportunities, activities and events which are delivered through a network of student Interns and enterprise managers located on campus.
SIE also provides ongoing advice once a business has started trading and commercialisation support for ventures which have the potential to become high growth businesses. 15% of students who contact SIE go on to form a business and of those, up to 20 % have the potential to be high growth. In the last ten years, SIE has supported the filings of 63 patents and 24 trademarks. Many companies that receive patent funding go on to develop international patent portfolios in Europe, Japan, USA and elsewhere.
SIE’s vision is to be recognised as experts in entrepreneurial education within the higher education sector in Scotland.