KickStart Challenge

KickStart Challenge now OPEN. Apply now!

What is it?

KickStart will open for applications on Tuesday 8 October 2019.

The KickStart Challenge is aimed at early-stage, innovative projects embarking on the first steps of the commercialisation journey.

Designed to test and validate your business idea, this is your chance to access hands-on training, expert advice and practical support.

Prize package

Winner: £10,000*
Runner-up: £5,000

All Successful Applicants: Two days of entrepreneurial training, pitch training and bespoke business advice.

*The winner is also automatically eligible to be fast-tracked to the semi-final of the next Converge Challenge, Impact Challenge or Creative Challenge Programme.

Who can apply?

The KickStart category is open to all sectors, enterprise types and to both product and service-based ideas. Applicants must be able to demonstrate product/service feasibility, strong unique selling points and commercial viability.

KickStart is most suitable for projects embarking on the first steps of the commercialisation journey and has been designed to help you establish commercial viability while preparing you to enter the more advanced Converge programmes.

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
  • Commercial viability
  • Clarity of product/service development plan
  • Understanding of what you need to get market ready
  • Proposed business model

What’s involved?

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

  • Attend a two day course of intensive business and pitch training
  • Attend a full day business surgery workshop with our network of partners
  • Submit a business case and 1-minute video pitch

Then, if you’re lucky enough to be selected as a finalist, you will be asked to pitch to a live audience at a special KickStart Awards ceremony.


2020 Programme Dates:

Programme Launch – 8 October 2019
Application Deadline – 19 November 2019 (12 noon)
Business Training – 8, 9, 10 January 2020
Business Case Submission – 30 January 2020
Awards Final – 27 February 2020

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.