Largest ever KickStart cohort enrolled onto 2019 training programme following record number of early-stage applications

A record 139 applications were received from across Scotland’s Higher Education Institutions reinforcing the message that the country’s universities remain a bedrock of innovation for early-stage ideas and projects that have the potential to become viable businesses. 

More projects than ever before will benefit from a 2-day practical business training programme to help develop their proposition culminating in an Awards Final with a prize package of £15,000.

Scotland’s vibrant academic entrepreneurial eco-system continues to flourish with 33 early stage business ideas within sight of reaching the final of the Converge Challenge KickStart 2019 programme next March where a £10,000 cash prize awaits the winner and £5,000 will go to the runner up.

The Creative Industries provide the highest increase in applicants for KickStart, up 59% on last year, with the Engineering and Technology, Life Sciences, Tourism and Textiles industries also well represented. From innovators looking to build affordable, 3D printed prosthetic arms through to touch screens powered by solar energy, the range and diversity of this year’s ideas has been outstanding. In addition, a record number of female applicants from across all sectors submitted entries, up 71% on 2018.

Amongst them,

Rajesh Kumar Plamthottathil from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, working on his project TrackGenesis, a Blockchain based, AI powered software platform for the food and drink industry. This will enable organisations to fully digitize physical assets and track them from production to delivery to increase supply chain transparency.

Lucy Kerr from The Glasgow School of Art has created Wet Blue - a recycling project that investigates ways that waste produce from leather production can be re-used and turned into a sustainable alternative to paper made from wet blue hide shavings. Wet Blue is sparking a movement towards the future of design materiality being centred around utilising the worlds waste.

iOembedded, a venture created by Heriot-Watt University student Alexander Bowen, has developed a sensor technology ‘IOsight’ set to  transform the smart home by using  gesture control and environmental imaging rather than cameras, lenses and lasers. The idea is to make the smart home secure from hacking.

Claudia Cavalluzzo, Interim Director of Converge Challenge is delighted with the scope and variety of this year’s entrants, commenting that these early stage ideas are a testament to a continuing confidence amongst staff and students across Scotland’s Universities that an entrepreneurial mind-set can turn the ‘kernel’ of an idea into a transformative business.

“Submissions for the 2019 KickStart programme has surpassed all our expectations, not just in the number of applications received, but in the quality and creativity of the ideas. We’ve now refined the entries and have selected a cohort of innovators who will undergo entrepreneurial skills training that will help them to develop practical business management and enterprise skills to get their ideas to the next level.

“As KickStart is based around early stage development ideas, entrants may have limited experience of the practicalities of starting or running a business. However, the training they undertake offers them the chance to develop their first business plan, an essential element in the journey of any entrepreneur.

We are delighted that Scotland’s Higher Education sector is strongly committed to developing entrepreneurship, helping to crystallise these early stage business ideas and contributing to Scotland’s economy. We are thrilled with such a strong cohort of projects and look forward to working with them in the months ahead.”

The candidates will now be invited to attend a two-day training programme taking place in Edinburgh next month with the chance to submit their business case in February. The shortlisted KickStart projects will then be assessed by an external judging panel with the winning projects announced at the KickStart Awards in March.

The full list of shortlisted projects are below:

Lead Applicant Idea Summary / Project Name University / Research Institute
Stephenie Pagulayan ALICE Theatre Project University of the Highlands and Islands
Teresa Shutter Aquaponics Garden Scotland's Rural College (SRUC)
Marwa Ebrahim Atypical Cosmetics University of Glasgow
Elisabeth Feldstein Augment Bionics University of Edinburgh
Ana Betancourt Black Goblin University of Edinburgh
Elad Katz Cancer-in-a-Box University of Dundee
Ishani Malhotra Carcinotech Ltd University of Edinburgh
Gunel Aghabayli CO2Catalyser University of Edinburgh
Matthew Aitchison Darkroom Interactive Abertay University
Saskia Goeres Designed forLife Ltd Glasgow School of Art
Matthew Smith Dual-Mode Transistor University of Glasgow
Ananda Prasanna Jagadeesan Engineering Crowd Services Limited University of Strathclyde
Kieran Gallagher Hexterion Glasgow Caledonian University
Alexander Bowen iOembedded Heriot-Watt University
Kat Rulach (nee Garbutt) KYE Glasgow School of Art
Charlotte McKechnie Opera Eos Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Brian Hamilton Roomerical University of Edinburgh
Marc Auffret Screening service to identify effective PDFA Scotland's Rural College (SRUC)
Martin Craig Sculpture Placement Group Queen Margaret University
Dhayalan Shakthivel Self-Powered Touch Interface (SeT) University of Glasgow
Sara Mair Bellshaw Slow Adventure University of the Highlands and Islands
Jaspal Chouhan SmartStep Queen Margaret University
Alena Rogozhkina Sonas-Behavioural Science LTD University of Stirling
Arthur Serini The Crafty Pickle Co. University of Aberdeen
Rajesh Kumar Plamthottathil TrackGenesis Robert Gordon University
Hernan Botero Degiovanni Tropical plant-based feed supplements for ruminants Scotland's Rural College (SRUC)
Rothwelle Tate UltraFast Technologies University of Strathclyde
Chee-Wee Tan Vigor Bio Queen Margaret University
Stuart Mair Viridux University of Strathclyde
Alireza Abbassi Monjezi Waterwhelm University of Edinburgh
Francisco Carreno Weewash Ltd. University of Strathclyde
Lucy Kerr Wet Blue Glasgow School of Art
Jake Elliott-Hook YAIA Queen Margaret University
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