Ambitious entrepreneurs gathered at the inspiring contemporary sculpture park Jupiter Artland to launch the 2018 company creation programme, now in its eighth year.
Converge Challenge is aimed at staff, students and recent graduates from all Scottish universities, inspiring them to develop their ideas into viable and successful ventures.
The competition attracted over 200 entries in 2017. Between 2011 and 2016, the programme provided training to 180 Converge businesses that have an overall survival rate of 78% post three years with an opportunity for applicants in Converge Challenge to go from idea inception to being a feasible and scalable business both nationally and globally.
Olga Kozlova, Director of Converge Challenge, said:
“In 2018 we are encouraging as many staff, students and recent graduates from all our excellent Scottish Universities to apply and take advantage of our offering that turns innovative concepts and projects into growing businesses and helps create a new generation of entrepreneurs.
I am particularly delighted that the participating and winning alumni joined us to support the launch of this year’s competition at Jupiter Artland, a place that represents the creativity, ambition and commitment towards inspiring people that absolutely typifies the ethos and approach of Converge Challenge.”
2017 saw Converge Challenge hit a significant target of 43% of the finalists being female; with the 2018 target striving to gain greater equality with across all of our entrants. Converge Alumni success stories include:
- A wearable device providing protection for lone workers
- An app that supports people with cognitive decline
- A battery powered airflow back-rest cushion designed for wheelchairs
The 2018 programme has a total prize fund of cash and in-kind, business support packages valued at over £160,000+, finalists also receive an intensive series of support workshops across the duration of the programme, leading up to the awards in September 2018.
Winner of Converge Challenge 2017 Dave Hughes, novosound, said:
“Personally, the Converge Challenge experience, expertise and support has already been invaluable to make the transition from an academic to an entrepreneur. As a company, the support provided from the prize package will allow us to take novosound to the next level.”
The Converge Challenge 2018 categories are:
- Converge: established idea
- KickStart: for early stage ideas
- Social Enterprise : positive impact on social and environmental issues
- Entrepreneurial Spirit Award
Converge Challenge is funded by the Scottish Funding Council and partner universities and contributors: University of Aberdeen, University of Dundee, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, Heriot-Watt University, University of Stirling, University of Strathclyde, University of St Andrews & The Royal Society of Edinburgh. Supporting universities include: Edinburgh Napier University, Robert Gordon University and the University of the West of Scotland.
Converge Challenge is now open from Wednesday 24 January 2018 for applications until the deadline closing date of Thursday 29 March 2018 at 5.00pm GMT. To enter visit www.convergechallenge.com