Financial boost for talent search

Universities’ backing for Converge programme

Converge alumni Alexander Enoch founded Robotical and won

Converge alumni Alexander Enoch was a prizewinner in 2016 as, founder of Robotical


All 18 of Scotland’s universities have joined the Scottish Funding Council and the National Lottery through Creative Scotland to pledge financial support for Converge, the entrepreneurship development and enterprise programme for staff, students and recent graduates from within Scotland’s universities and research institutes.

The Scottish Funding Council has earmarked more than £1 million to cover the next three years. This year’s prize fund of £230,000 will be shared across four main platforms – Converge, Impact, KickStart and – new for 2019 – the Creative Challenge.

Sandy Finlayson, chairman of Converge, said: “Scotland’s universities are central to the success of the Converge programme.

“Over the years, our university partners have given enormous support to Converge in its efforts to reach thousands of students, recent graduates and academic staff and to promote entrepreneurship.

“We now have the financial backing of all Scottish universities and Creative Scotland which is tremendous, and it shows a clear commitment to increasing our rate of business formation and making Scotland a collaborative, inclusive and competitive nation.

“Thanks to their contribution, and the much-valued and continued support of the Scottish Funding Council, Converge will be able to train and fund even more entrepreneurs than before and achieve even greater impact for the Scottish economy”.

Lying at the heart of the Converge programme is access to working with a wide cross-section of industry experts to help entrants transform their ideas into sustainable companies operating in the commercial world.

For the first time as part of the Converge programme, a celebration of ‘creative innovation’ is championed through the Creative Challenge – a new category which joins the established Converge, Impact (formerly Social Enterprise) and KickStart categories.

With the support from universities – up from 11 last year – and now from Creative Scotland, the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland, the Creative Challenge will encourage new business ideas from across Scotland’s creative industries sector.

These include areas such as fashion and textiles, visual and performing arts, music, photography, software and computer gaming.

Creative Scotland’s funding will enhance the support available to this category’s participants, ensuring the winner and runner-up in the Creative Challenge have the opportunity to gain valuable support and advice in growing their imaginative business ideas.

The final of the 2019 Converge will be held at the V&A Dundee on 25 September.

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