Creative Challenge

Competitions now open. Apply now

What is it?

The Creative Challenge is for innovative, new business ideas within Scotland’s creative industries sector. Disciplines include but are not limited to advertising, architecture, visual arts, crafts, design, fashion and textiles, film and video, photography, music, performing arts, writing and publishing, software and computer games.

Prize package

First prize: £20,000 cash (plus £21,000 in kind support)
Runner-up: £10,000 cash (plus £9,000 in kind support)

All semi-finalists: Three days of intensive business training and bespoke business advice

Who can apply?

The Creative Challenge is aimed at innovative ideas that demonstrate individual creativity, skill and craft and which have the potential to develop into financially sustainable businesses.  The category is open to both product and service-based ideas. 

To be successful, your proposal must demonstrate that the growth of the business depends upon effective trading based on your creative or cultural idea in the form of a clearly defined product or service. Applicants must also be able to demonstrate the ability to start trading within 12 months of the Converge Awards (held annually in September). 

To be eligible, all applicants must be either staff, students or recent graduates* of a Scottish Higher Education Institution. 

* up to 24 months after graduation from the initial application date

Check out our full Terms and Conditions here.

Judging criteria

You will be judged on:

  • The clarity of your business proposal
  • Novelty 
  • Unique selling point 
  • Product/service validation 
  • Route to market
  • Customer engagement
  • Team
  • Financial sustainability
  • Understanding of resources

Judging panel

Prof Janice Kirkpatrick OBE

Co-founder & Creative Director, Graven

Janice Kirkpatrick co-founded Graven with her architect husband Ross Hunter in 1986. The design studio is expert in branding and workplace design and operates in over thirty countries. She is a member of D&AD, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and sits on the Advisory Board for V&A Dundee and The Scottish Government’s Creative Industries Advisory Group.

Clive Gillman

Director of Creative Industries, Creative Scotland

Clive Gillman works as the Director of Creative Industries for Creative Scotland, the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland. He has a background in contemporary art and media, having worked as an artist exhibiting internationally and across the UK. He was previously Associate Director of FACT in Liverpool, before becoming the Director of Dundee Contemporary Arts (2005-2015).

Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne

Founder, Genius Gluten Free

Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne is Founder of Genius Gluten Free, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence at Edinburgh University. In 2018, she was included in the Maserati Top 100 Innovators and in the top 100 Women to Watch by Cranfield University.

Nick Kuenssberg

Chairman of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Nick Kuenssberg is chairman of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Klik2Learn and Frog Systems.  He is also a business angel and mentor. Nick has held numerous international business positions for companies including Coats Viyella, Stoddard International and Scott & Fyfe .

What’s involved?

If your application is successful, you will be asked to:

  • Attend a three day course of intensive business and pitch training
  • Exhibit at our Elevator Pitch event 
  • Submit a business plan, financial forecast and 1-minute video pitch

Then, if you’re lucky enough to be shortlisted as a finalist, you will also be asked to

  • Take part in a promotional film and photography shoot 
  • Pitch live to our judging panel
  • Attend the Awards ceremony (held annually in September)

2019 Programme Dates 

Programme Launch – 14 March
Application Deadline – 25 April (12 noon) 
Business Training– 10, 11, 12 June
Elevator Pitch Exhibition – 12 June 
Business Plan Submission – 11 August 
Live Pitching to Judging Panel – 17 September
Awards Final – 25 September 

Got a question?

Check out our FAQ page where you can find answers to frequently asked questions.

Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Email the Converge Team and we’ll try to help.