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Thriving Future for the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs from Scotland’s Universities

  • Converge Challenge Shortlisted Finalists Announced
  • University Spin Outs Dominate
  • 12 Scottish Universities represented
  • 44% Female Finalists

The 2017 shortlist of academic entrepreneurs for Scotland'sleading company creation competition has been announced today.

The judging process has shortlisted 25 nominees across thecompetition's three award categories:

Converge Challenge: for thosewith an established idea - 10 shortlisted

KickStart: for early stageideas - 10 shortlisted

Social Enterprise: for ideasthat will have a positive impact on social and environmental issues - 5 shortlisted

The shortlisted nominees represent 12 Scottish universitiesfrom across the country and 44% of this year's finalists are female highlightingincreased female participation year on year.

University spinouts dominate the main Converge Challengeaward category representing 7 of the Top 10 finalists. This demonstrates that entrepreneurialactivity within Scotland's universities is thriving and there is a solid pathfor the outcomes of worldwide research to be developed into businesses thatbenefit society and the economy.

Further highlights within the Converge Challenge awardcategory include: a range of sectors from Life Sciences and Oil & Gas toFintech and ICT; candidates are a combination of university graduates and staff;and finalists are engaging with other entrepreneurial opportunities such as theRoyal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowship and the Scottish EnterpriseHigh-Growth Spinout Programme.

The KickStart and Social Enterprise early stage finalists covera broad range of innovations and ideas that include: a birthing mirror toassist midwifes; a control system for wind turbines; an online platform thatdelivers and monitors personalised physiotherapy programmes; and a portabletoolkit designed to raise awareness of issues for hard of hearing individuals.

Dr Olga Kozlova,Director of Converge Challenge, said:

"This year's finalistsare game changers showcasing innovations with amazing market potential. The candidate'sbusiness plans displayed solid market engagement and commitment to developing astrong team and clear details on how they plan to grow the business - all keyelements that contribute to the future success of a new business and ultimatelyScotland's economy.

"The strong pipeline ofuniversity spinouts is encouraging and at Converge Challenge we are delightedto offer the follow on training and support to develop these 'ideas' intoprofitable and scalable businesses.

"We congratulate allthe candidates for getting through to this stage, the judges found it difficultas every project had the potential to become an exciting business and we haveno doubt they will go on to become Scotland's next generation of innovators andentrepreneurs."

Finalists will now go through to the final stage of thecompany creation competition and entrepreneurship development programme withthe opportunity to win cash prizes and in kind business support packages fromthe total prize fund valued at over £170,000.

Converge Challenge is Scotland's leading company creationcompetition and entrepreneurial development programme for staff, students, andrecent graduates of Scottish universities and Research Institutes. ConvergeChallenge represents all of Scotland's 19 universities and research institutesdemonstrating the strong collaborative enterprise agenda in Scotland. It hastrained 180 company founders and 120 early stage and social enterprise foundersthat have created 78 companies with a 43% incorporation rate. 77% of thosecompanies have received follow-on funding totaling to £60 million and have a78% survival rate post three years.

The winners of each of the three categories will beannounced at a Converge Challenge awards ceremony on Thursday, 28thSeptember 2017 at the Glasgow Science Centre.

Afull list of all finalists can be found on the Converge Challenge website: www.convergechallenge.com