Converge Challenge 2016
Start-up scheme unveils new deals
To mark Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, it is also dedicating a £10,000 prize to a new Design and Creativity Award aimed at encouraging ideas in digital media, textiles, architecture and design which could be a product, process or a service.
New partnerships are announced with RBS, Mazars and Badenoch & Clark that will see the total prize fund and training increase to £150,000.
RBS will be a key partner, providing support across all areas of Converge Challenge as well as business mentoring. Mazars, one of Europe’s largest accounting firms will provide finance and accounting business support, and Badenoch & Clark will support the winners with recruitment solutions.
The increased funding includes access to a broad range of expert support and training including legal support from Morton Fraser and patent and trademark expertise from Murgitroyd.
Converge Challenge provides an opportunity for students, recent graduates and academic staff across the higher education sector. During the last four years, it has trained more than 120 entrepreneurs who have formed 51 companies backed by £15 million of funding and employing 139 staff.
Olga Kozlova, director, said: “This an exciting year with our biggest prize fund to date and an ambitious development programme. We are delighted to welcome our new partners on board; they each bring a wealth of experience from their respective sectors that will equip our next generation of entrepreneurs to create companies that will have an impact for Scotland.
“We work with any industry sector, product or service-based idea and we are thrilled to announce the Design and Creativity award, to celebrate the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.”
Successful applicants participate in entrepreneurial development throughout the competition. Through intensive training, mentoring, pitching experience, business surgeries and ongoing support, participants can ultimately develop a comprehensive business plan for their company, product and/or service. A panel of judges made up of industry experts, leading entrepreneurs and investors from across the business community will assess the projects and select the winners who will be announced at a ceremony in September.
Last year’s overall winner Richard Walker of Photon Force, said: “Converge Challenge has provided an immense opportunity for Photon Force, drom the application process, which made us understand what was involved in operating a business in our field, to developing a business plan that would achieve results. On top of this, was access to an extensive suite of training and mentoring.”
Converge Challenge will be hosting information events in Aberdeen this Tuesday, Edinburgh on Wednesday and Glasgow on Thursday.
Photo: centre – Olga Kozlova, director of Converge Challenge, flanked by previous winners Rebecca Pick and Richard Walker