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Tech Entrepreneur Invests £27k for QMU Digital Media Content Creators

Scottish entrepreneur George Mackintosh has pledged £27,000 to support digital media content creators at Queen Margaret University (QMU).

Mackintosh’s Papple Steading Digital Media Prize competition aims to support students and recent alumni at the University, tasking students with producing “engaging digital media content”.

The content will celebrate Lothian and Scotland’s contributions to global agriculture between the 18th and 20th centuries, with winning works displayed at Papple Steading’s agricultural heritage museum.

Papple Steading, one of Britain’s finest historic “model farms” of the Agricultural Improvement Movement, was bought by Mackintosh in 2017. The model was originally located at the Whittingehame Estate, whose Laird at the time was AJ Balfour, the British Prime Minister between 1902 and 1905.

Commenting on the announcement, George Mackintosh said: “East Lothian has a wonderful industrial, seafaring, and agricultural heritage.

“The partnership with QMU will bring to digital life the stories of how our agricultural heritage changed the county’s social and physical landscape and how innovators in this part of Scotland had a huge impact on the development of farming and food production around the world.”

Mackintosh says he plans for the development of Papple Steading to feature an agricultural heritage museum, business destination and a community centre.

Professor David Stevenson, Acting Dean of QMU’s School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management, said: “The project has extra meaning for me as my father was a farmer and my mother studied at QMU.

“This is a great opportunity for our students and graduates to bring the stories of our shared agricultural history to life, whilst also gaining the practical experience of turning a concept into a viable pitch and budget.

“This is the beginning of a very exciting partnership with Papple Steading, and we are very grateful for their support.”

Mackintosh already has a strong reputation in Scotland as an entrepreneur, founding having founded and backed several small firms in the past.

In June 2020, software testing business Eggplant, founded by Mackintosh in 2009, was acquired by California-headquartered Keysight Technologies for $330 million.

Edinburgh-based Mackintosh previously founded 3i-backed audio, video and web conferencing business Geoconference in Glasgow in 1996, with the company being sold to Global Crossing (now CenturyLink) in 2000.

He is also the Chairman of shellfish exporter Laeso Fish Limited, Vice-Chairman of the CBI’s SME Council, and an Associate and former Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Edinburgh Business School.

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