A prize fund of £170,000 alongside great networking opportunities and a comprehensive support and training package are available for the winners, ensuring the best possible start for any new business.There are three winning categories for the Converge Challenge: Converge Challenge Award, KickStart Award and Social Enterprise Award.
The top 30 participants will be invited to attend a three-day entrepreneurial training course*, delivered by professional enterprise consultants and experienced entrepreneurs, at RBS Gogarburn on May 30th - June 1st, 2017. The Royal Bank of Scotland is a key partner of Converge Challenge and is providing support across all areas of Converge Challenge.
The pitch training will focus on presentation skills and how to prepare an elevator pitch. Topics will include consistent communication, presenting with confidence, audience engagement and how best to structure your presentation. As part of this training course, participants will take part in an event called "Ready, Steady, Pitch!" which in 2016 formed part of a full day event which concluded the training called "Educational Journey of an Entrepreneur" This was a collaborative event between Converge Challenge, Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE), Young Enterprise Scotland (YES) building on the ScotlandCanDo agenda
In 2017 the event is slightly different featuring a pitching dinner at the end of the training programme on June 1st. The concluding event will include an exhibition/business fair of the top 30 Converge participants. Each participant will demonstrate their project idea using a pop up stand (designed and supplied free of charge by Converge Challenge using the image(s) you submit with your Converge Challenge application). Converge finalists can bring other items to support their project. Each of the top 30 will therefore be given space to display their project to engage with the audience.
During this Ready Steady Pitch event in 2017, participants will also prepare a one-minute elevator pitch that will be delivered to a high-profile audience. Invited guests will include industry representatives, investors, corporates, journalists and key higher education contacts. This presents a great networking opportunity.
Converge provide training for the top 30 Converge applicants as preparation for the next steps of the Challenge on May 30 - June 1 2017. To prepare for the Elevator Pitch competition there will be pitch-coaching session, led by an experienced trainer, who will work with each group to give everyone the opportunity to refine their description of their business, and what it actually does. Preparation beforehand is essential.
In 2017 the training looked like this:
The first day’s training covers the personal and corporate issues you will face when starting a company. How will this affect you, personally; how much equity should founders receive; how do you ‘receive’ equity anyway? After lunch we break into two groups: explaining the spinout process to those who will license IP from the university whilst those who own their own IP and intend to do a start-up look at the challenges of market research and then building and managing a board of people to help you grow the business. (You can’t do it all by yourself).
You will be split into two groups: one group will spend the morning doing pitch training and practice. The second group will delve into a winning Business Plan followed by hands-on instruction using the EBS Financial Planning Template; build your own detailed Financial Plan……in 60 minutes. Bring a laptop. In the afternoon the two groups change and we repeat each session for the other group.
This is an all-day session to help you build a winning Business Model and work out “how are you going to make money?” We also cover Product Positioning and Price Plans as well as winning, planning and managing customer meetings.
Phase 2 Internal Converge Challenge judges are:
This will focus on entrepreneurial skills but will also touch on presentation and pitching to assist participants with their task of submitting a 1- minute video pitch as part of Phase 3.The top 30 participants will be invited to attend a two-day entrepreneurial workshop at RBS Gogarburn on May 31 and June 1.
Phase 2 Internal KickStart judges are:
The top 30 participants will be invited to attend a two and a half-day entrepreneurial workshop at RBS Gogarburn onMay 30 (pm) until June 1. This will focus on entrepreneurial skills but will also touch on presentation and pitching.
Phase 2 Internal Social Enterprise judges are:
Entries for Converge Challenge 2017 are now CLOSED. If you've applied for 2017 then good luck!
Both individual and team entries will be accepted. Please note that multiple ideas can also be submitted.
The Internal Judging Panel will review all submissions, before selecting the Top 30 ideas from each category that will proceed to the next stage of the competition. All successful applicants will be notified by e-mail by May 5th 2017.