New Plan for Regional Hubs takes Shape

By Derek Waddell, Interim Director, Converge

Scotland’s academic communities have long been synonymous with innovation, inspiration, and invention. From the Highlands and Islands to the Borders, we stand proud of our unwaveringly progressive spirit and robust appetite for enterprise and company creation.

Our universities and research institutes are brimming with ideas that can crystallise into new products and services. However, taking a bright idea and turning it into a successful and profitable business is no mean feat.  It takes courage, determination, belief and access to a range of support initiatives, and this is where Converge, working closely with our university and research institute colleagues, can help deliver successful outcomes

At a time when there is a sharp focus on our post-pandemic recovery and when Scotland needs to ‘supercharge’ its economic prosperity aligned to a new era of innovation and creative thinking Converge, as Scotland’s leading company creation and enterprise programme, is primed to work even more closely with our colleagues in universities and research institutes to help accelerate and transform these opportunities across every region of Scotland, and to help stimulate the creation of new technologies, investment, and exceptional job opportunities in new and exciting companies.

The pandemic has forced a re-think on how business and organisations can shape their future and Converge is no different.

That’s why we are creating a series of regional hubs across Scotland where the same level of opportunity, mentoring and support is available to everyone. In addition to the core team in Edinburgh, we will locate Converge Enterprise Executives in Aberdeen and Glasgow to cover those universities and research institutes in the North East and West of Scotland. We have held early discussions with colleagues in the South of Scotland and are already in active discussions with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the University of the Highlands and Islands, on how we can develop a new model of support for colleagues in that region.

Our increasing regional approach will mean that our university and research institute stakeholders can work with their local Converge Executive to facilitate the participation of their staff and students who wish to access the wide range of enterprise training and support opportunities that are available in the Converge programme. It’s a bold move, but one that ensures Converge speaks for all academic communities across Scotland.

Entrepreneurship is the backbone, of our economies. Every one of the 225 businesses supported to date by Converge was created from invention, collaboration, and a determination to work hard to achieve their goals.

Now, through establishing our regional hubs, we can work even more closely with enterprising staff and students in every corner of the country to provide Scotland with a significant opportunity to build our global competitiveness shaped for our post-pandemic world.

This article first appeared in Scottish Business News on 17 August 2021.