Growth of Can Do nation

Record applications for Converge Challenge

Olga Kozlova

Olga Kozlova: Converge Challenge CEO

Pitching competition Converge Challenge received a record 223 applications from Scottish University staff and students for its latest programme.

It brought growth to more than 1,100 applications since the scheme began in 2011 and in excess of five times the number of budding entrepreneurs presenting their business ideas.

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. 

Dr Mike Cantlay, chairman of the Scottish Funding Council, a main funder of Converge Challenge said: “Developing entrepreneurship through national initiatives like the Converge Challenge is vitally important in driving Scotland’s future economic growth as a Can Do nation.”

Female applicants rose to 35%, a rise of 2% on 2017. The number of social entrepreneurs also grew by 2%.  

Applications Overview:

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% 

The Converge Challenge 2018 categories:

Converge: established idea

KickStart: for early stage ideas

Social Enterprise: positive impact on social or environmental issues


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