Scotland’s social innovation rising stars unveiled on a global stage

A multi-sensory audio visual pop-up space for young people with additional support needs, a collaborative hub providing employment opportunities, and a programme of workshops using STEAM subjects for exploring emotional wellbeing in young girls have been announced as the 2018 winners of the Social Innovation Competition.

Delivered by Firstport, the Social Innovation Competition celebrates Scotland’s Year of Young People by looking for individuals with the most exciting, innovative and enterprising new ideas for working with and for Scotland’s young people. The competition offers three £5000 awards - including the Young Social Innovator category open to applicants aged 16 to 30 - combined with tailored support to develop these ideas.

The winners – Ewan Sinclair of Soundplay Dome, Olivia Robertson of Gumption Girls and Carla Fyfe of Collaborative Hub - were presented with their awards by Josiah Lockhart, Chief Executive of Firstport, at a civic reception held by The City of Edinburgh Council last Friday (14 September). The reception was part of the closing events of the Social Enterprise World Forum 2018, attended by over 1400 delegates from across the world.

Soundplay Dome is a multi-sensory audio visual pop-up space that uses music, animation and interactive technology so users can explore, create and communicate through music, movement and play. Ewan and his co-director Bal Cooke plan to use it primarily with young people with additional support needs.

Gumption Girls will deliver workshops to inspire girls and young women aged 5-18 to be more confident, creative and resilient. Their innovative approach uses science, technology, engineering, arts and maths (STEAM) activities to introduce and explore emotional wellbeing, empowering girls to believe in their abilities and develop a growth mindset.

The Collaborative Hub brings together organisations, people and communities to create social change. The hub will manage training suites in the city centre of Glasgow to generate income to create employment opportunities for young people in the north west of Glasgow.

Josiah Lockhart, Chief Executive of Firstport, said: “Huge congratulations to our 2018 winners. Now in its third year, the Social Innovation Competition has unveiled three fantastic ideas that will make a difference to the lives of young people in Scotland. This year we received the highest ever number of applications and were very impressed with the quality of entries.
We are grateful to the Scottish Government for their continued support for the competition, which has helped kick-start the journeys of some great initiatives, including Studio Pop and Woodside Arran, both of which are making a name for themselves in their respective industries. We are looking forward to supporting this year’s winners on their journey.”

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “I am delighted to offer my congratulations to the winners of this year’s Social Innovation Competition, supported by the Scottish Government in this Year of Young People 2018. These three aspiring social entrepreneurs all have fantastic ideas that will directly benefit the lives of our young people. Scotland’s eco-system of support for social enterprise is recognised as world leading and this is a fitting close to the end of the international Social Enterprise World Forum hosted in Edinburgh, which attracted 1,400 delegates from around the world. I look forward to following the progress of these aspiring entrepreneurs and celebrating their success.”

Ewan Sinclair of Soundplay Dome said: “We are delighted to have been selected as winners of the Social Innovation Competition. The Soundplay Dome is at a really exciting stage in its development and support from Firstport will be instrumental in allowing us to reach a wider audience and gain new skills in how we manage and present our work in the future.”

Olivia Robertson of Gumption Girls said: "I'm delighted and honoured to win this award. It is a really exciting time for Gumption Girls and the award will enable us to develop new programmes to reach and support more young people in Fife”.

Carla Fyfe of Collaborative Hub, winner of the Young Social Innovator category, said: "To win the award feels fantastic! It has given me the chance to take stock of the idea and its potential to better the lives of young people living in deprivation. The award will allow me to push forward with the collaborative hub, and have discussions with people who may be interested to support it, plus, I can begin making it a reality which is very exciting."

More information on the Social Innovation Competition is available on the Firstport website