Converge Challenge 2018 closed to the record-breaking news of receiving 223 applications from Scottish University staff and students demonstrating the appetite for entrepreneurship across Scotland. This continued growth brought them to over 1,100 applications since the programme inception and an over 5 times increase in the number of budding entrepreneurs stepping forward compared to their inaugural year in 2011.
Securing these application milestone numbers marks a sustained progression in enterprise activities within Scotland’s higher education system. Modern universities have grown their share by 10% reaching 35% of applications overall and for the first time Converge Challenge received applications from the Royal Conservatoire, further demonstrating the sustained push of the Converge team to outreach into the creative sector.
Testament of this focus on the creative sector is the addition to their expert panel of judges of Professor Janice Kirkpatrick CBE, co-founder and creative director of award winning design agency Graven.
Dr Mike Cantlay OBE, Chair of the Scottish Funding Council, a main funder of Converge Challenge said:
“The Scottish Funding Council is an active supporter of the entrepreneurial network in Scottish universities and we are delighted to see this year’s substantial growth in applications from staff and students. Developing entrepreneurship through national initiatives like the Converge Challenge is vitally important in driving Scotland’s future economic growth as a Can Do nation.”
Converge Challenge is especially gratified to see the growth of female applicants rising to 35% – a 2% increase on 2017 – and to see the number of social entrepreneurs entering the Challenge grow by 2%.
Converge Challenge is now anticipating the move into the next stage of the programme that will see their expert judges narrow down all 223 entries to their Top 60; as in previous years, they expect exciting award winning innovations to come through!
The ambition and goal of Converge Challenge continues to be the creation of sustainable and profitable companies and supporting a creation of highly entrepreneurial, Can Do Society.
Converge Challenge 2018 received applications from 18 out of 19 of Scotland’s universities.
Applications by geography are:
- North – 23%
- East – 43%
- West – 34%
Applications by background:
- Undergraduates – 28%
- Postgraduates – 28%
- Recent graduates – 13%
- Staff – 31%
Converge Challenge applications by category:
- Converge – 39%
- KickStart – 44%
- Social Enterprise – 17%
Top three industry sectors:
- Technology and engineering – 31%
- Creative industries – 20%
- Life sciences – 13%
- 35% Female applicants, which reflects a 2% increase on 2017
The Converge Challenge 2018 categories are:
- Converge: established idea
- KickStart: for early stage ideas
- Social Enterprise: positive impact on social or environmental issues