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Converge Challenge alumni launch leading university programme to attract next generation of entrepreneurs

  • Converge Challenge alumni launch leading university programme to attract next generation of entrepreneurs

Converge Challenge alumni launch leading university programme to attract next generation of entrepreneurs

Converge Challenge alumni launch leading university programme to attract next generation of entrepreneurs

Ambitious entrepreneurs gathered at the inspiring contemporary sculpture park Jupiter Artland to launch the 2018 company creation programme, now in its eighth year.

Converge Challenge is aimed at staff, students and recent graduates from all Scottish universities, inspiring them to develop their ideas into viable and successful ventures.

The competition attracted over 200 entries in 2017. Between 2011 and 2016, the programme provided training to 180 Converge businesses that have an overall survival rate of 78% post three years with an opportunity for applicants in Converge Challenge to go from idea inception to being a feasible and scalable business both nationally and globally.

Olga Kozlova, Director of Converge Challenge, said:

"In 2018 we are encouraging as many staff, students and recent graduates from all our excellent Scottish Universities to apply and take advantage of our offering that turns innovative concepts and projects into growing businesses and helps create a new generation of entrepreneurs.

I am particularly delighted that the participating and winning alumni joined us to support the launch of this year's competition at Jupiter Artland, a place that represents the creativity, ambition and commitment towards inspiring people that absolutely typifies the ethos and approach of Converge Challenge."

2017 saw Converge Challenge hit a significant target of 43% of the finalists being female; with the 2018 target striving to gain greater equality with across all of our entrants. Converge Alumni success stories include:

u00b7 A wearable device providing protection for lone workers

u00b7 An app that supports people with cognitive decline

u00b7 A battery powered airflow back-rest cushion designed for wheelchairs

The 2018 programme has a total prize fund of cash and in-kind, business support packages valued at over £160,000+, finalists also receive an intensive series of support workshops across the duration of the programme, leading up to the awards in September 2018.

Winner of Converge Challenge 2017 Dave Hughes, novosound, said:

"Personally, the Converge Challenge experience, expertise and support has already been invaluable to make the transition from an academic to an entrepreneur. As a company, the support provided from the prize package will allow us to take novosound to the next level."

The Converge Challenge 2018 categories are:

u00b7 Converge: established idea

u00b7 KickStart: for early stage ideas

u00b7 Social Enterprise : positive impact on social and environmental issues

u00b7 Entrepreneurial Spirit Award

Converge Challenge is funded by the Scottish Funding Council and partner universities and contributors: University of Aberdeen, University of Dundee, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, Heriot-Watt University, University of Stirling, University of Strathclyde, University of St Andrews & The Royal Society of Edinburgh. Supporting universities include: Edinburgh Napier University, Robert Gordon University and the University of the West of Scotland.

Converge Challenge is now open from Wednesday 24 January 2018 for applications until the deadline closing date of Thursday 29 March 2018 at 5.00pm GMT. To enter visit www.convergechallenge.com

The Converge Challenge Alumni featured:
u00b7 Dave Hughes - novosound - University of the West of Scotland Converge Challenge 2017 Winner

u00b7 Debbie Wake - My Way Digital Health - University of Dundee Converge Challenge 2017 Top 10 Shortlist

u00b7 Rotimi Alabi - RAB Microfluidics - University of Aberdeen, Converge Challenge 2017 Finalist

The Nathan Coley installation, " You Imagine What You Desire" forms part the permanent collection in one of Scotland's most successful and inspiring contemporary art collections at Jupiter Artland. The Jupiter Education Foundation benefits from income from the park, and is focused on igniting the 'spark of inspiration in young people'. Turner prize nominated Nathan Coley graduated with a BA in fine art from the Glasgow School of Art.

Images 1 & 2 L - R: Dave Hughes, Debbie Wake & Rotimi Alabi Photographer credit: Lloyd Smith

www.studionathancoley.com www.jupiterartland.org

Further media enquiries:

Graeme Thomson 0141 548 5191 / 07774 546909 / graemet@sprengthomson.com

Website: www.convergechallenge.com Twitter: @ConvergeC

Launched in 2011 by Dr Olga Kozlova, Converge Challenge is a high profile pan-Scotland company creation competition and entrepreneurship development programme for staff, students, and recent graduates of Scottish Universities and Research Institutes aimed at creating a new generation of entrepreneurs in Scotland.

Applications can be for a product or service, from any industry sector and at any stage of the development.

Converge Challenge is funded by the Scottish Funding Council and partner universities and contributors: University of Aberdeen, University of Dundee, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, Heriot-Watt University, University of Stirling, University of Strathclyde, University of St Andrews and The Royal Society of Edinburgh. Supporting universities include: Edinburgh Napier University and Robert Gordon University.

2017 Winners Award

Category Name Company/Project University Prize

Winner Dave Hughes Novosound University of the West of Scotland £78,000 (£50,000 in cash and £28,500 in business support)

Converge Challenge 2nd place Dr. Holly Butler ClinSpecDx University of Strathclyde £42,000 (£25,000 in cash and £17,000 in business support)

Converge Challenge

Design & Creativity Award Corien Staels - Staels Design University of Glasgow £31,500 (£15,000 in cash and £16,500 in business support)

KickStart Winner Juan Pablo Echenique Power Enable Solutions University of Edinburgh £6,000
KickStart Runner up

Liam McMorrow Adelie Health University of Aberdeen £4,000

Entrepreneur Award

Fiona Denison Birth Mirror University of Edinburgh Ipad Air
Social Enterprise Winner

Lorna Paul Web-based physiotherapy Glasgow Caledonian University £5,000
Social Enterprise Runner up
Callum MacKinnon Forth Valley Rebound Therapy Service CIC
Glasgow Caledonian University £3,500
Entrepreneurial Spirit Winner
Garry Boyle Headspace Design Heriot-Watt University £1,000