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Leading social innovators Mel Young of Homeless World Cup and Social Bite’s Alice Thompson will come together for the first time, to talk about new solutions for our changing world.

On 7 March Thompson, part of the team behind the hugely successful Sleep in the Park fundraiser, will interview Young on scaling up his global football competition to 74 countries.

The conversation is part of the Business School’s Startup Festival. Now in its third edition, this year’s free event will include founders from FreeAgent, Sticky Heelz, Mallzee and Mercat Tours and social enterprises Tribe Porty and Edinburgh Tool Library.

Edinburgh Entrepreneurship Club (E Club) pitching competitions for Novel Ideas and Venture Development return, with £5,000 cash prizes on offer for budding startups. Previous winners include James Turing, great-nephew of celebrated mathematician Alan Turing and founder of the Turing Trust, and Tipple Box’s Sonny Charles.

With 16 free events to choose from, the festival offers drop-in clinics in marketing and fundraising and one2one sessions with startup experts. Drawing from the city’s own thriving ecosystem, the festival includes tours and talks through FanDuel, Skyscanner, EIE Scotland and University of Edinburgh spin out companies.

A networking lunch will provide a chance to meet members of the entrepreneurial community, with delicious food and drink from social enterprises Edinburgh Larder and Bon Accord Drinks.

The Startup Festival is part of Startup Europe Week.

Professor Wendy Loretto, Dean of University of Edinburgh Business School, said:

Universities are a hotbed for founding companies and as a business school we’re really pleased to be playing our part, from offering entrepreneurship and innovation courses for STEM PhDs to tutorials for arts, informatics and engineering students.
The Startup Festival is a chance to bring students and the startup founders together, and celebrate Edinburgh as a great place, with a thriving system of incubators, vibrant young companies and a huge amount of support on offer, all against the backdrop of our world-leading University”.