L – R: Dr Olga Kozlova, director of Converge Challenge and Dr. Claudia Cavalluzzo, deputy director of Converge Challenge
The Converge Challenge 2018 shortlist has been announced, showcasing 60 projects from Scottish universities that include innovations in women’s health, virtual reality and renewables and sustainability.
The three Converge Challenge award categories are:
1. Converge Challenge - for those with an established idea
2. KickStart - for early stage ideas
3. Social Enterprise - for ideas focussing on social and environmental issues
Sustainability is a trend in this year’s shortlist, as well as the technology and health sectors.
Professor Andrea Nolan O.B.E., convener of Universities Scotland, said: “I am truly delighted to see the shortlisted Converge Challenge participants continue to raise the bar each year and produce pioneering and innovative products and services from technology to robotics and health.
“The ambition of these 60 budding entrepreneurs is to change the lives of people here in Scotland and the rest of the world for the better through social good and inclusive solutions.
“I look forward to tracking the progress of these wonderful projects which exemplify the excellence of our Scottish universities and showcase the diversity of sectors they support.”
As competitors progress to the Top 60 they will benefit from a range of opportunities and an extensive programme of support to enable them develop their business propositions. Benefits of the support include: 1-2-1 bespoke advice; enhanced business and pitch training; hands-on mentoring; and a total prize fund of over £160,000 of cash and in-kind business support for the winners.
A stand out aspect of Converge Challenge is that previous applicants are encouraged to return. Converge Challenge 2017 winner Dave Hughes of Novosound, University of the West of Scotland said: “Winning Converge Challenge 2017 helped move Novosound to the next level because of the intensive and inspiring support we received throughout the Challenge.
“The 2018 participants are about to embark on a fantastic and vital programme which will really test them but will give them the toolkit and entrepreneurial skills to help them bring their ideas and products to a much wider network.”
The timeline for Converge Challenge will be:
· Entrepreneurial Training & Elevator Pitch – 29 - 31 May 2018
· Converge Challenge Business Surgeries – 27 & 28 June 2018
· Business Plan Submission – 27 July 2018
· Converge Challenge Top 10 Selection – 17 August 2018
· KickStart and Social Enterprise top 15 Selection –20 August 2018
· Top 6 Selection – Wednesday 30 August 2018
· KickStart and Social Enterprise winners Selection 03 September 2018
· Awards – 19 & 20 September 2018
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