Technology which allows parents to see high-quality images of their unborn child has won Scottish entrepreneurial competition, Converge Challenge.
The winners were announced at the Converge Challenge awards ceremony on Thursday, 28 September, where an increased prize fund of £170,000 was awarded to Scotland’s best and brightest ideas.
More than 200 of Scotland’s most respected business and entrepreneurial leaders attended the event at the Glasgow Science Centre and speakers on the night included First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP; Bob Keiller CBE; Professor Sally Mapstone; and David Sibbald OBE.
Scotland’s First Minister presented the winner of Converge Challenge 2017 award to Dave Hughes of University of the West of Scotland for his project novosound, technology that allows expectant parents to see their unborn child with the image quality of MRI.
The revolutionary sensors, systems and software allow for low cost, high resolution imaging and have potential to disrupt the medical, dental, industrial and veterinary markets.
The first-place prize, valued at £78,000, includes £50,000 in cash and £28,000 worth of business support that includes mentoring from Royal Bank of Scotland, automatic entry to pitch on-stage at EIE18 and an opportunity to match a Scottish Enterprise SMART Feasibility Award. All main Converge Challenge category winners also gain automatic entry to the semi-final of Scottish EDGE.
Dr Olga Kozlova, director of Converge Challenge, said: “Congratulations to all the team at novosound from University of the West of Scotland – a deserving winner and certainly a company with a lot of potential to grow and succeed. We look forward to seeing where they go next!”
The Converge Challenge second place prize was awarded to Dr Holly Butler of University of Strathclyde with ClinSpec Dx, a simple blood test to detect brain tumours allowing rapid diagnosis. The company took home a total prize fund of £42,000, including £25,000 in cash and £17,000 in business support.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, said: “Well done to all of the winners and finalists of this year’s Converge Challenge. Awards like Converge are a fantastic way of developing the talents of Scotland’s many young entrepreneurs and innovators. But they’re also an opportunity to showcase one of Scotland’s great traditional strengths – generating new ideas, products and technologies, supported by our world-class educational institutions. I want to see a ‘can do’ culture define us as a country on every level, and the talent and determination of these finalists shows that we are well on the way to fulfilling that vision.”
Dr Olga Kozlova, director of Converge Challenge, said: “The mix of innovations, sectors and routes to success highlights the thriving entrepreneurial spirit within our universities. Listening to the pitches earlier today proved that there was a strong aspiration from our finalists to build truly global companies and it is exciting to be part of their journeys. Each and every one of them has the opportunity to succeed through hard work, entrepreneurial support and a ‘can do’ attitude.