Student trio shares business contest prize pot

Published: 15 May 2024

Three Easter Bush Campus-based students have been recognised for their innovative business ideas in a contest run by Edinburgh Innovations that aims to support student entrepreneurship by recognising and rewarding submissions with commercial potential.

Gilbert Eshun, Laura Higham and Saline Owaga have each been awarded a share of the £1,000 prize pot for the Easter Bush Business Ideas Competition.

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The first prize of £500 was awarded to Gilbert Eshun, a Mastercard Foundation Scholar undertaking an MSc (One Health) at The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

Gilbert’s business idea, Ecopotash Ghana, focuses on recycling cocoa pod husks, millions of tonnes of which are disposed of each year.

Recycling husks into fertilisers and caustic potash – used in areas such as batteries, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics – could help to address environmental concerns while also enhancing soil health and crop productivity.

The Vet Sustain CIC business idea, put forward by Laura Higham, a PhD student in the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems, won the second prize of £350.

Vet Sustain CIC is a not-for-profit social enterprise aiming to enable and inspire veterinary professionals to drive change for a sustainable future, through the delivery of tools, training courses and events, community engagement, and partnerships.

Vet Sustain CIC has also been selected as a finalist for Edinburgh Innovations’ Inspire Launch Grow awards. Laura will compete in the Launch-Impact award category for a £10,000 prize.

The third prize of £150 was awarded to Saline Owaga, a Mastercard Foundation Scholar enrolled in the MSc (One Health) programme at the Vet School, for Eco Shell Solutions. Saline’s business idea focuses on addressing the issue of widespread disposal of eggshells by street vendors in Nairobi, which causes environmental pollution.

This involves collecting and processing shells and re-purposing them into valuable products like calcium-rich powder, helping to promote sustainability and resource efficiency in urban areas.

Alongside world-leading research, the Easter Bush Campus provides a first-class environment for entrepreneurship and innovation. Roslin Innovation Centre, the business gateway at the heart of the Campus, is a key national hub for the Agri-Tech, Aquaculture, and Animal Bioscience industries (3As), we collaborate with the public, private and third-sector to promote interdisciplinary research and innovation at local, national and global levels.

Edinburgh Innovations, the University’s commercialisation service, aims to inspire and equip students and recent graduates with entrepreneurship skills to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges.

It offers a wide range of free, tailored support for students. This includes 1-2-1 meetings with business advisers, events, competitions, online courses and resources.


Easter Bush Campus

  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Midlothian, EH25 9RG

Campus Operating Officer: Val White

T: +44 (0)131 651 9180

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The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Easter Bush Campus
  • Midlothian EH25 9RG

Deputy Head of School - Operations: Cat Eastwood

T: +44 (0)131 651 7441

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Roslin Innovation Centre

  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Easter Bush Campus
  • Midlothian EH25 9RG

Director of Innovation: Val Hughes-White

T: +44 (0)131 651 9000

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