The KickStart category is for early-stage ideas for new products or services. This year the award will be split across two areas, startup (£5K cash) sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland and spin out (£5K cash) sponsored by Talent Spark.
Additionally, the top 30 shortlisted participants receive two days of comprehensive business and pitch training. This intensive residential training is to further develop their early-stage idea with a view to applying to the main Converge Challenge the following year.
The Top 30 shortlist for the KickStart category has been announced with finalists from University of Dundee, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, Glasgow School of Art, Heriot-Watt University, University of the Highlands and Islands, Queen Margaret University, University of Stirling and University of Strathclyde.
Malcolm Buchanan, Chairman, Scotland Board, Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “The right support is crucial for anyone starting a new business, especially so during those fledgling steps. Royal Bank of Scotland’s experience with new-starts and SMEs has shown us that money isn’t the only challenge young businesses face – it is having access to the right support, the right experience, and even the chance to meet with other people who understand your situation. That is why we are delighted to be supporting Converge Challenge KickStart startup this year.”
Michelle Lownie, Founding Director, TalentSpark said: “TalentSpark understand how vital the right people with the right skills are to the success of any business, especially those in the startup environment. We support the leaders in our vibrant startup market to find the talent they need at the right stage of their entrepreneurial journey which is why we’re so keen to support the Converge Challenge KickStart spin out award. We’ll be looking with interest for the talent from Scottish Universities that could grow from these early-stage businesses into future entrepreneurial stars.”
Olga Kozlova, Director of Converge Challenge, said: “Having the support and expertise of the Royal Bank of Scotland and TalentSpark teams available to KickStart participants is absolutely central to the success of Converge Challenge. I love to watch the progress of these businesses from their creation right through to the challenging yet vital experience they gather during the different phases. I’m particularly proud that some previous KickStart challengers not only went on to win in the main Converge Challenge category, but also to wider business success!”
Christopher McCann, the winner of the KickStart category in 2014, is the CEO of “snap40” which proposes a patient health early warning system for the hospital and community. Since winning KickStart four years ago, snap40 has grown to a team of 22, raised $3.2 million in a seed investment round and monitored a 1,000 patients so far.
The Converge Challenge 2018 categories are: KickStart – for early stage ideas Converge Challenge – for those with a developed idea Social Enterprise – for ideas focussing on social and environmental issues
Timeline: • 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 –20 September 2018
A full list of all finalists can be found on the Converge Challenge website: www.convergechallenge.com/blogs/competition/2018-05-02-top-60-converge-challenge-2018shortlist-announced/