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New era for Converge as 2022 programme opens for applications

Converge, Scotland’s largest company creation and enterprise programme for the university sector, has officially opened applications for its 2022 programme – with the largest prize pot available in its 11-year history. 

Open until 5 April 2022, university entrepreneurs with ground-breaking business ideas can apply to gain access to a funding pot worth £310k. Additional benefits include bespoke business training, peer-to-peer learning, and pitch coaching. 

Created to bridge the gap from business ideation to commercialisation, Converge has supported 500 entrepreneurs and the creation of more than 300 companies since it launched in 2011. Previous winners have included Novosound and Current Health.

The 2022 Converge programme promises to be bigger than ever, with new categories as well as more places available – up from 90 to 100 spots. From this year, Converge will increase both its support to very early stage ideas through its enhanced KickStart programme as well as strengthen its focus on investment readiness for more advanced businesses.

In addition to the long-standing Converge Challenge category, applications are now open for:

  • Net Zero Challenge – new for 2022, this challenge is sponsored by SSE and has been designed to accelerate academic entrepreneurs tackling the climate emergency 
  • Create Change Challenge – also new, the Create Change Challenge will support innovators with a product or service idea which has the potential to develop into a sustainable business that delivers either creative, cultural or social impact
  • KickStart Challenge – suitable for early-stage entrepreneurs with an innovative business idea they would like to test, validate and prepare prior to launch.  From this year it will support 50 businesses (up from 30 in 2021) giving them an opportunity to tap into an increased prize pot worth £40,000. This includes special prizes for ideas covering wellbeing, climate action and entrepreneurial spirit

This year’s programme also includes two special awards, one sponsored by Cisco – the Future of Tech award- and the Rose Award aimed at ambitious female entrepreneurs, sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland. 

Claudia Cavalluzzo, executive director at Converge, said: “In our first decade, we have given hundreds of Scotland’s dynamic, seedling organisations a launchpad for growth at a pivotal time in their existence – several of which have achieved considerable external investment to accelerate their growth internationally in the last year. As we move into the next ten years, we are eager to receive applications from as diverse a group of individuals and companies than ever before to respond to our ever-changing global challenges.

“Successful applicants will be in the running to gain access to our largest prize fund, and will also benefit from our enhanced training programme which will be delivered by some of Scotland’s leading businesses including key Converge partners Cisco, SIS Ventures, SSE and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Having seen the accomplishments that many Converge alumni have enjoyed since participating, I can’t wait to see what 2022 brings in terms of new ideas and innovations.”

In addition to Converge’s high calibre strategic and professional partners, Haseltine Lake Kempner has been confirmed as the new intellectual property partner. 

Converge is open to new and prospective businesses that will be operational in the 12 months following the awards ceremony, which is due to take place on 3 November 2022.