Impact Challenge

Competitions now open. Apply now

What is it?

The Impact Challenge is for innovative, new projects with a social or environmental mission at their core.

Prize package

First prize: £20,000 cash (plus £9,000 in-kind support)
Runner-up: £10,000 cash (plus £6,000 in-kind support)

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

Who can apply?

The Impact Challenge is open to all mission-led enterprises and to both product and service-based ideas.  To be successful, your application must demonstrate that social impact and business growth can be achieved in a sustainable manner.

The development stage of your product or service must also be sufficiently advanced to enable commercialisation 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 
  • Innovation
  • Social impact
  • Product/service validation
  • Route to market
  • Customer engagement
  • Team 
  • Financial sustainability
  • Understanding of resources 

Judging panel

Josiah Lockhart

Chief Executive Officer, FirstPort

Josiah, as Chief Executive, oversees the development and strategic planning of FirstPort. Josiah has over 10 years’ experience leading and developing social enterprises though has also worked in the private and public sectors.  He has a strong history of seeing some of Scotland’s most successful social enterprises through intense change including the start-up of the Grassmarket Community Project and the rescue and restructure of Gorgie City Farm.

Celia Hodson

Founder, Hey Girls

Celia is a multi-award winning entrepreneur, named Social Entrepreneur of the Year by STV and Deloitte. A former business executive with extensive experience of leading social change in the UK, Australia, India, and Brazil, Celia retired early only to set up Buy One Give One Period Products Social Enterprise, Hey Girls in 2018. 12 months on her products are stocked in supermarkets nationwide and delivered via public sector contracts. Trading activity has enabled Hey Girls to donate over 2.4 million period products to UK girls and women in need.

Thomas Gillan

Chief Officer, Finance & Strategy, Social Investment Scotland

Thomas is the executive lead at SIS Ventures and is responsible for the strategic planning within the SIS group. In 2015, he led the development of SIS Community Capital, the UK’s first impact investment fund for HNWIs raising investment using Social Investment Tax Relief.

Katherine Maxwell

Innovation Project Manager, Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation

Katherine Maxwell oversees the delivery of a range of business and innovation support projects at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation. Previously, Katherine ran her own successful consultancy business and has worked for LSE Cities, Changeworks, the Scottish Government and the European Commission in a series of project management roles.

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 one-minute video pitch

Then, if you’re lucky enough to be shortlisted as a finalist, you will 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 – 12 June (evening)
Business Plan Submission – 11 August
Live Pitching to Judging Panel – 18 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.