To maintain our innovative approach and to celebrate the 2017 Converge Challenge Awards, we commissioned a new style of trophy to inspire Scotland’s next generation of entrepreneurs.
The awards are made by Scott Irvine of Harmonies in Wood from kiln dried Scottish olive Ash wood. The design is based around our favourite hero image - the lightbulb – to represent the eureka moment with some bright new colours to represent the different award winning Challenge categories.
The ten shortlisted business plans for the Converge Challenge 2017 category award have now been whittled down to the Top 6 finalists in Scotland's leading academic company creation competition. Open to students, graduates and staff from Scotland's universities this year's finalists show strong representation from the healthcare and engineering sectors, a healthy presence of female participants (30% of the finalists) and include 4 spin-out and 2 start-up businesses. The finalists are competing to win cash prizes and in-kind business support packages from the total prize value of over £170,000.
Converge Challenge is delighted to give a warm welcome to our newest Strategic Advisory Board member – Polly Purvis, chief executive of digital technologies industry body ScotlandIS.
Polly started her career in banking in the City of London, and then held roles in both the public and private sectors, with a particular focus on economic development for small and medium sized businesses.
Among the categories being contested in the Converge Challenge every year is the KickStart Digital Entrepreneur Award – dedicated to internet marketing and entrepreneurialism recognising the online marketing talent of the early-stage ideas as part of the KickStart Award
We are delighted to announce that there are 10 KickStart finalists for 2017 from University of Edinburgh, University of Strathclyde, Heriot-Watt University, University of Aberdeen, University of Glasgow, University of Stirling, the Glasgow School of Art and Edinburgh Napier University (in no particular order).
The 2017 shortlist of academic entrepreneurs for Scotland’s leading company creation competition has been announced today.
The judging process has shortlisted 25 nominees across the competition’s three award categories:
The shortlisted nominees represent 12 Scottish universities from across the country and 44% of this year’s finalists are female highlighting increased female participation year on year
As part of the Converge Challenge training programme, we offer hands-on mentoring, rigorous training, business support and networking opportunities to help turn ideas into a reality. To that end, we invited the Top 30 to attend the 1-2-1 Business Surgeries on 27th June at Morton Fraser's office, Quartermile, Edinburgh & 28th June at Kirkstane House, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Glasgow.
Converge Challenge is delighted to give a warm welcome to our newest partner to the ‘Converge Family’ – TalentSpark, powered by Eden Scott.
TalentSpark was formed in 2015 in response to the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem within Scotland. In the last two years they have supported a number of Scotland’s most exciting start-ups including Pick Protection and ShotScope, both of whom are Converge Challenge Alumni. They have advised on the right board appointments and advisors, the right levels of candidates to pitch for and helped source the best talent available.
ClinSpec Dx, a simple blood test to detect brain tumours earlier, was the winning pitch when Converge Challenge applicants competing for Scotland’s largest academic start-up prize went head-to-head to give 60-second ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitches in Edinburgh last night.
Dr Holly Butler, a Research Associate at the University of Strathclyde, delivered the winning pitch and captured the audience with some staggering statistics on current brain tumour diagnosis and how ClinSpec Dx can change these statistics through earlier detection.
A sculpture by the celebrated Italian artist Paolozzi sits outside Royal Bank of Scotland’s Drummond House offices in Edinburgh and engraved in its base reads a quote from Einstein.
“Knowledge is wonderful but imagination is even better”.
As its name suggests, Converge Challenge helps bring these qualities together. The competition, designed to help universities and students take their ideas from the drawing board to conception, has proved to be a great success. Recent figures show that for every £1 invested in the programme Scottish businesses leverage a further £7.51 in funding.
Next in our Meet The Partner series, we introduce you to Murgitroyd, the global intellectual property attorney firm, who has partnered Converge Challenge since 2011, and provides £10,000 of in-kind support to our winners.
Converge highlights the fantastic partner organisations who provide a broad range of support and advice to our winners and alumni in this feature so you can learn more about what they do. The in-kind prize package is just as important an incentive to the overall winners. Together, we ensure the best possible start for any business.