Finalists compete to launch ideas

Converge Challenge top six announced

Converge Challenge applicantsScotland’s Converge Challenge for business minded students, graduates and staff from the country’s universities has announced its top six finalists for the main award.

The company creation competition and start up development programme gives contenders a chance to win a prize of £150,000, as well as access to a broad range of expert support and training through partners and sponsors.

The top six finalists for 2016 are:

Professor Marc Desmulliez, MicroSense Technologies Ltd, Heriot-Watt University
Dr Alexander Enoch, Robotical Ltd, University of Edinburgh
Dr Andrew Herbert, H Guard, University of Edinburgh
Chris Hughes, Estendio, University of Strathclyde
Susanne Mitschke, MindMate, University of Glasgow
Dr Deborah Wake, MyDiabetesMyWay, University of Dundee

This year the Converge Challenge first place winner will also be automatically placed in the next Scottish EDGE semifinals and have the opportunity to pitch on stage at EIE17 to key investors and stakeholders.

Alongside the first and second place prizes for the main Converge Challenge award category there is a £10,000 cash prize for the Design and Creativity Award introduced this year in celebration of Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

Five of the six finalists are Converge Challenge alumni who entered the competition in previous years and reached various stages in the competition. Representing universities from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee the shortlist of nominees represents a range of sectors and technologies including: food and drink, engineering, medical devices and healthcare apps and online platforms.

In the 2016 Converge Challenge programme, 17 of Scotland’s universities were represented among 212 applications. This was a record number of applicants and represents 14% growth year on year. Applications were received from Undergraduates (30%), Postgraduates (40%) and staff (30%) as well as increased applications for all other Converge Challenge award categories: KickStart (34%) and the Social Enterprise award category (14%).

Finalists must now prepare for the final on 22 September where they will present their business plans in 45 minute pitches to the panel of expert judges made up of industry experts, leading entrepreneurs and investors from across the business community.

The judges for the Converge Challenge category include:

Mervyn Jones, chairman of Converge Challenge, Gillian MacAulay, managing director of the Strathclyde University incubator, Professor David Milne, founder of Wolfson Microelectronics, Mary Jane Brouwers, an investment specialist, Gordon Stuart, director of operations at Informatics Ventures and Douglas Anderson, an expert in healthcare technology product design.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, on 22 September.

Mr Jones said: “Many of this year’s finalists are previous alumni and range from university spin-outs to student start-ups representing the versatility of the competition and the appetite for entrepreneurship within education.

“The strength of the business plans at this stage revealed that many of the projects are close to market.”

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