Here at Impulse, we’re all about the young people of Scotland who go above and beyond in their particular field. Our print edition has a bunch of interviews with some highly talented young Scots, but here we’ll give you a rundown of some of the inspiring men and women working to improve Scotland, the entrepreneurs, activists and politicians flying the flag for Scotland’s youth.
- Josh Littlejohn, 30
When he was 25, Josh became well known in Edinburgh for creating Social Bite, a chain of socially responsible cafes throughout Scotland. Social Bite’s unusual business model is based less on making money and more on making the world a better place. All the profits from the cafes go to charity, and 25% of the chain’s employees are former homeless people. He’s also the mind behind the Scottish Business Awards (the largest business dinner in the UK), and last year began a new business venture: Brewgooder, a sustainable craft beer company which donates all its profits to clean water charities.
- Mhairi Black, 23
Whatever your personal views or allegiances, Mhairi Black’s achievements are an important milestone for young people in British politics. Born in Paisley, she was elected as a member of parliament for Paisley and Renfrewshire South when she was 20 years old. This made Mhairi the youngest person to be elected to Westminster since 1880. She also identifies as LGBT and contributed to the record-breaking number of LGBTQ MPs when she was re-elected this year.
- Estelle Maskame, 20
Estelle, from Peterhead, has written and published four books. This is impressive enough in its own right, but here’s the best bit: the first three (her Did I Mention I Love You? trilogy) were published when Estelle was only 17. The books were originally published online, chapter by chapter, and after accruing over 4 million readers Estelle was picked up by Black & White Publishing. Since then, the novels have been published in 11 countries, and Estelle herself has won a Young Scot Award, given to Scottish young people for particular merit.
- James McIlroy, 24
At the age of 21, James became the CEO of a biomedical engineering firm before leaving uni after he founded EuroBiotix. At that point EuroBiotix was only a concept to “reduce the costs and inconveniences associated with providing FMT”. FMT is a medical procedure, used in the UK to combat various diseases and infections involved with bacterial imbalances. However, due to complications involving licensing and equipment, it’s not widely used in the UK. James, believing in the positive power of the procedure, sought to change that. Since then he’s managed to raise more than £500,000 for his company, gained an enterprise fellowship with the Royal Society of Edinburgh and won a £40,000 prize at the Scottish Edge entrepreneurial competition. Sales of his equipment are expected to begin next year.
- Katie Burke, 19
Katie is a young person who stands up for young people. As the chairperson for the Scottish Youth Parliament, she is an important link between young people and a government in which her peers are frequently under represented. This is a job, but Katie has taken it on as a mission. Not only does she keep that position, as well as being the MSYP for Helensburgh and Lomond, she’s also on the board for Youthlink, Scotland’s national body for youth employment. She’s won awards for her activities within politics and without, and has recently appeared in front of the UN Committee on Children’s and Young People’s Rights in Geneva.
- Jeremie Warner, 27
Originally from Linlithgow, Jeremie, like many others on this list, found the opportunity to excel while at university. His idea was the PAL power bank, a portable charger for use on phones, tablets and other day-to-day gadgets. The inspiring part is that PAL (which stands for “Power A Life”) will donate a solar-powered light to one of their partner schools in Africa for each charger bought. The idea is that as poorer areas frequently lack electricity, children are unable to study at night after school (and in many cases, after working to support their families). This problem is solved by the solar lights, hundreds of which have already been distributed to schools in Senegal, Gambia, and Zimbabwe.
- Kara Nisbet, 28
Kara is from Ayrshire, but her ideas have been heard around the world. Kara is the founder of Articulate Language Camps, which seeks to help young people from different countries understand and interact with each other. They operate school programmes and language clubs, but the focus is a series of summer camps for kids aged seven to 14. These camps send the children abroad alongside youngsters from Italy, Spain, Germany, and France to learn each other’s languages and culture. By fostering social understanding, Kara hopes to help her campers onto international success in later life.
- Lauren Mayberry, 30
You may already know Lauren, the vocals behind the Scottish band Chvrches. She’s achieved a lot for only barely having turned 30 multiple albums of critical acclaim, appearances at various major music festivals, lots of money. We could stop there but yet, the list goes on. In her spare time Lauren has also founded TYCI, a Glasgow-based collective focused on encouraging Scottish women in the arts. The collective concentrates particularly on the Glasgow music scene, which Lauren found to be a difficult place for female artists. We like this. The best kind of success comes from helping others to succeed.