Converge 2020

Academic entrepreneurs compete for Converge prizes

Claudia Cavalluzzo: ‘Scotland is an innovation powerhouse’

Eighteen fledgling businesses will compete for a share of prizes worth £230,000 at Converge 2020, Scotland’s academic company creation programme.

They are the finalists from across the nation’s universities whose innovations will be showcased later this month.

As with many other high-profile national events, this year’s Converge final on Thursday 24 September will be staged ‘virtually’ via a webcast.

Nonetheless it will present an opportunity to shine the light on the best of Scottish academic entrepreneurship to the world and this year’s Converge final has already sparked a surge of interest from international academic and business communities. 

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It gives the finalists across three of the four established Converge ‘Challenges’ – Impact, Creative and the flagship Converge category, extra impetus to make an impression as they each vie for a chance to win part of the prize fund of equity free cash and in-kind business support. 

In spite of the pandemic, applications to Scotland’s premier academic company creation programme have been exceptional high this year with a record number of initial submissions up 17% on 2019. 

To add to the global dimension, this year’s Converge final is hosted directly from Doha, Qatar by Scottish news presenter Halla Mohieddeen. 

Presenter: Halla Mohieddeen

She will welcome guest speakers including Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, environmental entrepreneur, Kresse Wesling, co-founder of sustainable British fashion brand, Elvis & Kresse, Professor Andrea Nolan OBE, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Edinburgh Napier University..

Susan Fouquier, managing director, Business Banking, Royal Bank of Scotland, will announce the winner of the new ‘Rose Award’, presented to an aspiring, ambitious female entrepreneur and named after Alison Rose, CEO, NatWest RBS group.

Claudia Cavalluzzo, Director of Converge, said: “For obvious reasons, our approach this year is different and wholeheartedly embraces the message that Scotland is an innovation powerhouse. The beauty of the virtual format is we can expect people joining us from across the globe.”

This year’s finalists are – 

Converge Challenge

Brian Quinn – Aquaculture Health Laboratory – University of the West of Scotland

Barry Leaper – LiberEat – University of Aberdeen 

Genevieve Patenaude – Earth Blox – University of Edinburgh 

Desmond Gibson – Albasense Ltd – University of the West Scotland

Stuart Hannah – Microplate Dx – University of Strathclyde

Robyn Hickerson – Ten Bio – University of Dundee

Ross Gillanders – Lightwater Sensors – University of St Andrews

Eve Hanks – MI:RNA – SRUC 

Creative Challenge

Elena Höge – Yaldi Games – University of Edinburgh

Lucy Fisher – Knit It – Robert Gordon University 

Stephenie Pagulayan – ALICE Theatre Project – University of the Highlands and Islands 

Robbie MacIsaac – MacIsaac Ltd – University of Strathclyde 

Jonathan O’Neill – Make Your Own Musicals – Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Impact Challenge

Dominic Gammon/Leia Kennedy – Aquaponics Garden – SRUC

Bartosz Soltowski/Fraser Stewart – Connex Solar – University of Strathclyde

James Swinburne – Metacarpal – University of Strathclyde

Yanik Adam Nyberg -Seawater Solutions Ltd – University of Strathclyde

Laura Higham – Vet Sustain – University of Edinburgh

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