YOUNG Scottish social innovators have been urged to learn from the Big Issue magazine as part of a national competition.

John Bird, co-founder of the magazine sold by homeless vendors, told first-round winners of the Young Innovators Challenge in Edinburgh that they could identify opportunities and ideas which made a real difference to people's lives.

Setting up the Big Issue 20 years ago was never a money-spinning idea, he said. "We knew at the time that we could not solve homelessness but aimed to develop a product which would empower homeless people to take control of their own lives. That, to me, is the critical aspect of social innovation."

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The 150 finalists in the competition, open to students and people in modern apprenticeship programmes, will now refine their entries ahead of a winners' showcase in August.