The competition aims to create new companies and offers a start-up development programme for students, grqduates and staff from the country’s universities.
From 212 applicants this year the judging process has shortlisted the top 10 nominees for each of the competition’s three categories:
This year, the Converge Challenge category welcomes back two previous top 10 finalists and runners up from both the KickStart and Social Enterprise award categories.
Representing universities from across Scotland the shortlist of nominees represents a diverse mix of sectors including: renewables, food & drink, educational, construction, apps, beauty, healthcare software, security, digital retail and medical device digital healthcare.
The 2016 Converge Challenge programme represents 17 of Scotland’s universities among the 212 applicants- representing a 14% growth year-on-year for the competition.
Applications were received from Undergraduates (30%), Postgraduates (40%) and staff (30%), with a 34% increase in KickStart applicants and 14% for the Social Enterprise award category.
The judging panel, will assess the projects and select the winners, is made up of a range of industry experts, entrepreneurs and investors from across the business community.
This year, Converge Challenge has increased its total prize fund to £150,000 through cash prizes and a broad range of expert support and training that has been provided through partners and sponsors.
Olga Kozlova, director of Converge Challenge, said: “It’s always tough to shortlist nominees and this year’s top 10 are the best yet. We’re especially pleased to see previous applicants back in 2016 with stronger business plans and that Scotland’s dynamic and diverse economy is well represented in the range of businesses included. In addition, our 2016 KickStart and Social Enterprise finalists are, I’m pleased to say, all new names to us, which shows a growing appetite in academia for start-ups.
“Converge Challenge is becoming a vital opportunity for start-ups to engage with and it’s not only good for them, it’s good for Scotland’s economy. Over 80% of Converge Challenge companies go on to secure follow-on funding with alumni having secured over £34 million of funding and employing over 150 staff since 2011.”
The winner of each of the three categories will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, on 22 September.
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