ACADEMIC INNOVATIONS SOAR TO NEW HEIGHTS AS 2018 CONVERGE CHALLENGE FINALISTS ARE ANNOUNCED

The finalists have been announced for Scotland’s leading higher education company creation programme, illustrating that Scotland’s academic community continues to thrive as a collective entrepreneurial hub.

With over 60% of the companies coming through being either founded or led by women, this year’s Converge Challenge is not only breaking down gender barriers but is innovating across multiple industries too. Renewable energy, health care and agriculture are just some of the industries these entrepreneurs are working within.

Emerging technologies and much needed industry innovations are showcased by the twenty-three entrepreneurs that have been shortlisted. Ranging from early stage projects to established start-up and spin-out businesses, the finalists will head to Edinburgh later this month to take part in the awards ceremony of the 2018 Converge Challenge programme.

Renowned venture capitalist and serial investor, Paul Atkinson, founder of Par Equity and a member of the Converge Challenge Strategic Advisory Board, believes that high calibre of entries this year is a direct result of Scotland’s Higher Education Institutions’ continued support of innovative projects and ideas.

He had this to say;

“Converge Challenge is a transformative programme which combines business support, training and mentoring as a complete package to support the business creation process. This sets Converge Challenge apart as Scotland’s most prestigious company creation programme for our academic community. It continuous to nurture disruptive innovative companies generating a much needed pipeline of high quality investable propositions.”

There are 23 finalists across the three categories which sit under the Converge Challenge. Seven finalists in the Converge category aimed at businesses ready to incorporate, ten in the KickStart Programme for early stage ideas and six in the Social Enterprise category aimed towards businesses creating positive impact on social and environmental issues.

Dr. Olga Kozlova, director of Converge Challenge, expressed her gratitude to every Higher Education Institution in Scotland for continuing to encourage participation in Converge Challenge.

She comments;

“Scottish Universities are strongly committed to contributing to the Scottish Government’s economic strategy. For the university-based entrepreneurs their entrepreneurial journey starts with Converge Challenge – crystallising the business idea and making them part of the highly supportive ecosystem. We are delighted with such a strong cohort of projects and look forward to working with them in the months to come.”

The Converge Challenge 2018 winners will be announced at a gala dinner and ceremony on Thursday 20th September at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh where a total prize pot of £160,000 and in-kind business support await the winners and runners up.

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The full list of finalists is;

Converge Challenge –

  • Carbogenics – University of Edinburgh
  • Cytochroma – University of Edinburgh
  • Kenoteq –Heriot Watt University
  • mycoBiologics –University of Aberdeen
  • MycoNourish –James Hutton Institute – Dundee
  • Teqnox –University of Strathclyde
  • Plantinum Informatics –University of Dundee

KickStart – Sponsored by TalentSpark and RBS

  • Silver Lion Innovations Ltd – University of Strathclyde
  • HiRes Solutions – Heriot-Watt University
  • Vector Photonics – University of Glasgow
  • ThermoDrone – Heriot-Watt University
  • AquaOmics – University of Highlands & Islands
  • Immernova -University of Dundee
  • Crover Ltd – University of Edinburgh
  • SiMologics – University of Strathclyde
  • Infinect – Heriot-Watt University
  • Seawater Solutions – University of Strathclyde.

Social Enterprise

  • One Cherry – University of Edinburgh
  • Lilypads – University of Edinburgh
  • criticalcarerecovery.com – Edinburgh Napier University
  • Youcan Recycling – Abertay University
  • CogniHealth – University of Edinburgh
  • Health Design Collective – Queen Margaret University

Ends

About Converge Challenge;

Converge Challenge is the leading, pan Scotland, company creation programme for staff, students and recent graduates of Scottish Universities and Research Institutes with the aim of creating a new generation of entrepreneurs in Scotland.

Converge brings together the most ambitious and creative thinkers from academia, research & business. We work with ALL industry sectors, products and service-based ideas at any stage of the development.

By providing high quality training, hands-on mentoring and practical support, including cash prizes, Converge Challenge helps to refine and accelerate the pipeline of spin-outs and start-ups by developing fledgling businesses into investor ready companies.

Converge Challenge represents all of Scotland’s Universities and Research Institutes, demonstrating the strong collaborative enterprise agenda in Scotland. It has trained over 200 company founders and has worked with 180 early stage and social enterprise projects. Together, Converge Alumni have created more than 100 companies that have collectively raised in excess of £74 million and have a 80% survival rate after three years.

Photo Caption:
L – R: Sam Chapman, Angus Lamond, Kate Cameron, Fiona Rudkin, Lidia Krzynowek, Carmen Cummiskey, Peter Orrell

Photographer credit: Lloyd Smith

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