KickStart Award

What is the KickStart Award?

Entries for Converge Challenge 2016 are now CLOSED. Full list of ALL our 2016 winners can be read HERE.The 2017 programme will launch February 7th - watch this space!

KickStart is a competition for an early-stage idea for a new product, or service. To support early stage ideas by providing enough funding to enable the project to create a prototype or to secure IP rights. The winner in 2016 received a £3,000 cash injection that will help to kickstart their business venture with a runner up receiving £2,000. For a full list of prizes please click HERE. In 2017 the prize pot will increase to £10,000 - more information to follow.

The Top 30 projects receive two days of invaluable business support training and are expressly encouraged to apply to the main Converge Challenge the following year.  The winner is automatically eligible to be fast-tracked to the following year's Converge Challenge Top 30. As an example all three Converge Challenge 2015 winners have been part of our top 30 previously and in the case of Rebecca Pick of Pick Protection,  she was a previous runner up of the KickStart category in 2014.

Previous project winners ideas include: wearable technology, synthetic plaster casts; dementia aids; methods of preventing infections; state-of-the-art computer vision techniques for 3D face and finger tracking; web portal that pools events; robotics; interactive apps etc. Click on our ALUMNI to read more on this.

Who can apply?

A full list of terms and conditions for the Converge Challenge KickStart can be found HERE.

  1. All Staff and Students at any Scottish University or Scottish Research institution. Students and Staff members should gain permission from their Supervisors, Principal Investigators or Technology Transfer Officer, as appropriate, to enter the Competition.
  2. Recent graduates from any Scottish University or Scottish Research Institution (up to 12 months after graduation, if supported by a University ie  after June 2016);
  3. Anyone who meets criteria 1 and 2 who has set up a company that has been dormant, non-trading or trading for no longer than 6 months with a secured income (incl. but not limited to grants, investment, loans, revenue, prizes) not higher than £50,000, are now eligible to apply.
  4. Applicants must intend to establish the businesses in Scotland

The shortlisted KickStart video pitches will be entered into a KickStart Digital Entrepreneur Award. This Award is dedicated to embracing social media as a key tool for successful sales and marketing to credit the team/individual who pioneered the digital marketing of their project as part of the KickStart category. The winner will receive an ipad Air and will be announced at the Converge Challenge Awards Dinner. Note - this award will not influence the overall judging process of the KickStart Award prizes. 

The winner of the 2016 KickStart Award is Dr David Harris-Birtill, University of St Andrews (photographed) with Beyond Medics Ltd - camera based system to remotely measure patient vital signs, saving lives.

The Entry process

PHASE 1: Submit the idea using provided the brief application form – by Monday 10th April 2017 at 5pm

PHASE 2: 2 day residential training for top 30 projects (May 31- June 1) All those short listed will be notified by Friday 5th May

PHASE 3: 5 page business case and 1 minute video pitch – Thursday 3rd August (5pm)

PHASE 4: Finalists will be invited to attend the Awards ceremony and dinner where the winners will be announced Thursday 28th September 2017. The finalists will be invited to attend a Business Surgery offering free advice and support from our valued partners on November 21st 2017 in Edinburgh.


  • £5,000 prize package – cash (increasing to £10,000 in 2017)
  • 2 day residential business skills & pitching training for the top 30
  • Overall winner of KickStart is automatically eligible to be fast-tracked to the following year's Converge Challenge Top 30!
  • Better developed ‘investor ready’ proposition
  • Obtain critical independent business plan analysis
  • Access to key markets and networking opportunities
  • Share and learn from other entrepreneur experiences
  • PR and networking opportunities


  • The Converge Challenge
    in numbers
  • The Converge Ecosystem
  • Kickstart Award

See more