About Us

Who we are

Converge is Scotland’s leading company creation programme for staff, students and recent graduates of all Scottish Universities and Research Institutes.

We help the most innovative and creative thinkers from academia to realise their entrepreneurial ambitions by offering generous cash prizes, mentoring and a programme of business support that turns fledgling businesses into investor-ready companies. From spin-outs to start-ups, we support proposals from any industry sector and for products or service-based ideas at any stage of development. 

Our mission

Our mission is to capitalise on the intellectual assets and expertise emerging from Scotland’s Higher Education system to help create the next generation of sustainable, high-growth businesses. We do this by providing students, graduates and staff of all Scottish Universities and Research Institutes with the practical and commercial skills they need to make their business ideas fly.

Our collaborative nature allows Converge to enjoy a fruitful and productive relationship with all Scottish Universities and Research Institutes.  This enables the team to offer bespoke support depending on the needs and strengths of each institution. 

Our team

Dr. Claudia Cavalluzzo


Claudia leads the Converge team bringing dynamism, vision, leadership and creative energy to the country’s most progressive and pioneering company creation programme.

Appointed Director in November 2018 following the departure of the founding director, Dr Olga Kozlova, Claudia’s previous roles include Head of Saltire Fellowship at Entrepreneurial Scotland and Deputy Director at Converge Challenge.

A former Saltire Fellow with a PhD in Organic Chemistry, Claudia’s experience spans everything from programme management and business development through to sustainability, strategic planning and commercial activity.

Lissa Herron

Enterprise Outreach Manager

Lissa is our Enterprise Outreach Manager who is responsible for the delivery of the outreach and training programme. As a former Converge alumna, she has invaluable knowledge and expertise of the journey that our participants will undertake and will be leveraging this to optimise alumni relations.

Lissa joins us from Roslin Technologies Limited and has in-depth experience of working with spin-outs and commercialisation of research. 

Adam Kosterka

Enterprise Outreach Executive

Adam is our Enterprise Outreach Executive and specialises in providing expert advice and support to start-up and early-stage companies. Down to earth and approachable, much of his time is spent ‘on the road’ promoting the Converge Programme to new applicants across all Scotland’s Universities and Research Institutes.

Before joining Converge, Adam worked as a Workplace Innovation Project Manager for Scottish Enterprise and a Business Advisor for Business Gateway.

Georgia Goodall

Marketing & Communications Manager

New to the Converge team but with 20 years’ marketing experience under her belt, Georgia brings a blend of practical, hands-on skills and strategic focus to our small but perfectly formed Marketing Department.

With a background in design, film production, event production and publishing including eight years working in London, Georgia’s remit includes marketing strategy, partnerships, sponsorship, PR and event management.

Jennifer Black

Marketing Executive

Part miracle worker, part magician, Jen is our longest serving team member having worked at the coalface for Converge since 2013. 

Multi-skilled, focused and adept at rolling her sleeves up, Jen oversees a wide range of marketing activities including social media, brand and event management and delivery.

Abigail Harte

Programme Administrator

Abigail is the administrative backbone of the Converge programme, supporting the team and overseeing every aspect of the Programme’s successful delivery.

Supremely organised, personable and professional, Abigail has a breadth of experience co-ordinating training projects and events which celebrate excellence and innovation in a variety of sectors including the Arts, education, charities large and small, local government and NGOs.

Our history

Converge was originally founded by Dr Olga Kozlova in 2010. Initially, a business plan competition open only to students and graduates of Heriot Watt University, Converge quickly expanded into a national initiative. Beginning with just one competition category – the Converge Challenge – the programme has now grown to include three other categories including the KickStart Challenge for early stage ideas; the Impact Challenge for enterprises with a social or environmental mission and the Creative Challenge for innovative, new projects within Scotland’s creative industries sector. 

Dr Kozlova stepped down in 2018 and is now Director of Industry Engagement at the University of Strathclyde.  Dr Claudia Cavalluzzo, formerly Deputy Director, was appointed Director of Converge Challenge in November 2018.