Converge Awards

Clean sweep for female-led spin-outs in Converge final

Genevieve Patenaude: ‘This will allow us to fast track our vision’

For the first time in the 10 year existence of the Converge Awards, female entrepreneurs have emerged as winners from the three main categories.

The event celebrated academic innovation and entrepreneurship among 18 emerging businesses who reached this year’s final. 

In a keynote address via a webcast to a global audience, Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, praised this year’s cohort as having “the very qualities and the mindset that the Scottish Government will continue to encourage and support”.

Earth Blox, a University of Edinburgh start-up tackling climate change issues, run by Genevieve Patenaude a senior lecturer from the School of Geosciences, won the flagship Converge Challenge Award and the top prize of £71,000 in equity free cash and in-kind business support.

Dr Patenaude said: “Winning the Converge Challenge will allow us to fast track our vision of democratising planetary scale satellite intelligence, so it becomes accessible to a whole suite of organisations dealing with humanitarian and disaster relief.”

The Impact Challenge was won by Leia Kennedy of Aquaponics Garden from the Fife-based Scotland’s Rural College. She co-founded Aquaponics Garden to offer a scalable, sustainable and profitable indoor farming model that overcomes seasonality. 

Elena Höge, a design and digital media masters graduate from the University of Edinburgh, secured the top prize for the Creative Challenge thanks to her newly founded start up, Yaldi Games, an interactive and educational nature experience game production company.

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