Impact Challenge

Register Your Interest

What is it?

*The Impact Challenge will open for applications on 26 February 2020*

The Impact Challenge is aimed at innovative ideas that have a social or environmental mission at their core and that have the potential to develop into financially sustainable businesses.

The award is applicable to all types of enterprises, and to be successful, proposals must demonstrate that social/environmental impact can be significant and long term. To be eligible, applicants need to demonstrate that their company can start trading within twelve months of the Converge Awards Ceremony in September 2020.

Prize package

First prize: £20,000 cash (plus £15,000 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 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:

  • Innovation: unique selling point; competitive advantage
  • Sustainable social or environmental impact
  • Market validation: customer engagement; viable route to market; market fit
  • Team: relevant experience; planning for future team
  • Resource planning: understanding of market readiness requirements including funding, expertise and operations  

What’s involved?

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

  • Attend a three day course of intensive business and pitch training
  • Pitch live at our Pitch to your Peers event
  • Attend our Elevator pitch event
  • Attend one full day of financial planning and impact assessment training
  • Attend a full day business masterclass with our network of partners
  • 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 our Awards Ceremony

2020 Programme Dates:

Programme Launch – 26 February
Application Deadline – 6 April (12 noon)
Business Training – 9, 10, 11 June
Pitch to your Peers Event – 10 June (evening)
Elevator Pitch Event – 11 June (evening)
Financial Planning & Impact Assessment Training – 25 June
Business Masterclass – 26 June
Business Plan Submission – 30 July
Finalist Filming Day – 7 September
Live Pitching to Judging Panel – 16 September
Awards Final – 24 September 

Judging panel

Lindsay Wake

Head of Impact, Social Investment Scotland (SIS)

Lindsay is responsible for devising the organisation’s impact strategy and supporting purpose-driven enterprises develop social impact practices. Lindsay has more than 16 years’ experience supporting and advising social enterprises. This includes developing social impact practices both in-house and for SIS customers, delivering market-building activities for the social enterprise sector and developing an impact-led approach for one of the UK’s leading affordable housing providers

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.

Dr Martin Valenti

Head of Climate Enterprise at Scottish Enterprise

Dr Martin Valenti is a serial disruptor and award-winning sustainability practitioner with extensive experience in strategic business engagement and innovation.

For over 30 years he has worked in a variety of senior management roles shaping and delivering inclusive growth initiatives including project managing major collaborative projects. He has successfully delivered high profile projects for the Scottish Government on climate change and sustainability and transformative Corporate Social Responsibility.

He played an instrumental role in setting up Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group and co-created the award winning 2050 Young Leaders Climate Group. In 2018 he created the Vacant & Derelict Land taskforce to transform how Scotland deals with its post-industrial legacy. Martin is head of climate enterprise on secondment at Scottish Enterprise, driving forward a new direction to make climate emergency a climate opportunity for solutions.

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.