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The 2017 shortlist of academic entrepreneurs for one of Scotland’s leading company creation competition has been announced.

The judging process for Converge Challenge has shortlisted 25 nominees across the competition’s three award categories:

  • Converge Challenge: for those with an established idea – 10 shortlisted
  • KickStart: for early stage ideas – 10 shortlisted
  • Social Enterprise: for ideas that will have a positive impact on social and environmental issues – 5 shortlisted

The shortlisted nominees represent 12 Scottish universities from across the country and 44% of this year’s finalists are female highlighting increased female participation year on year.

University spinouts dominate the main Converge Challenge award category representing 7 of the Top 10 finalists. This demonstrates that entrepreneurial activity within Scotland’s universities is thriving and there is a solid path for the outcomes of worldwide research to be developed into businesses that benefit society and the economy.

Further highlights within the Converge Challenge award category include: a range of sectors from Life Sciences and Oil & Gas to Fintech and ICT; candidates are a combination of university graduates and staff; and finalists are engaging with other entrepreneurial opportunities such as the Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowship and the Scottish Enterprise High-Growth Spinout Programme.

The KickStart and Social Enterprise early stage finalists cover a broad range of innovations and ideas that include: a birthing mirror to assist midwifes; a control system for wind turbines; an online platform that delivers and monitors personalised physiotherapy programmes; and a portable toolkit designed to raise awareness of issues for hard of hearing individuals.

Dr Olga Kozlova, Director of Converge Challenge, said:

“This year’s finalists are game changers showcasing innovations with amazing market potential. The candidate’s business plans displayed solid market engagement and commitment to developing a strong team and clear details on how they plan to grow the business – all key elements that contribute to the future success of a new business and ultimately Scotland’s economy.

“The strong pipeline of university spinouts is encouraging and at Converge Challenge we are delighted to offer the follow on training and support to develop these ‘ideas’ into profitable and scalable businesses.

“We congratulate all the candidates for getting through to this stage, the judges found it difficult as every project had the potential to become an exciting business and we have no doubt they will go on to become Scotland’s next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.”

Finalists will now go through to the final stage of the company creation competition and entrepreneurship development programme with the opportunity to win cash prizes and in kind business support packages from the total prize fund valued at over £170,000.

Converge Challenge is Scotland’s leading company creation competition and entrepreneurial development programme for staff, students, and recent graduates of Scottish universities and Research Institutes. Converge Challenge represents all of Scotland’s 19 universities and research institutes demonstrating the strong collaborative enterprise agenda in Scotland. It has trained 180 company founders and 120 early stage and social enterprise founders that have created 78 companies with a 43% incorporation rate. 77% of those companies have received follow-on funding totaling to £60 million and have a 78% survival rate post three years.

The winners of each of the three categories will be announced at a Converge Challenge awards ceremony on Thursday, 28th September 2017 at the Glasgow Science Centre.

Converge Challenge 2017 Shortlisted Finalists

The full list of shortlisted projects progressing through to be reviewed by our expert external judging panel are:

Converge Challenge Business University/Research Institute
Holly Butler ClinSpec Dx University of Strathclyde
Andrew Herbert Invizius University of Edinburgh
Douglas Martin MiAlgae Ltd University of Edinburgh
Deborah Wake MyWay Digital Health University of Dundee
Dave Hughes novosound University of the West of Scotland
Christopher Brown ParaFormance University of St Andrews
Rotimi Alabi RAB-Microfluidics University of Aberdeen
Philip McParlane Scoop Analytics Ltd University of Glasgow
Des Gibson SpectralSense University of the West of Scotland
Corien Staels Staels Design Ltd University of Glasgow

KickStart 2017 Shortlisted Finalists

The full list of shortlisted projects progressing through to be reviewed by our expert external judging panel are:

KickStart Business University/Research Institute
Fiona Denison Birth Mirror University of Edinburgh
Saemundur Haraldsson Easy Advanced Systems University of Stirling
Carolina Mateo-Segura InfiNect Heriot-Watt University
Liam McMorrow Insulin PenPal University of Aberdeen
Muhammad Arslan Khalid mobiDx University of Glasgow
Ryan Murdoch LUCID (Learning Using Computer Interface Design) The Glasgow of School of Art
Maiwenn Kersaudy-Kerhoas Natantis Heriot-Watt University
Richard McAdam McAdam Technology Edinburgh Napier University
Juan Pablo Echenique Power Enable Solutions University of Edinburgh
Carmen Cummiskey Teqnox Limited University of Strathclyde

Social Enterprise 2017 Shortlisted Finalists

The full list of shortlisted projects progressing through to be reviewed by our expert external judging panel are:

Social Enterprise Business University/Research Institute
Callum MacKinnon Forth Valley Rebound Therapy Service CIC Glasgow Caledonian University
Alice Horton Open Ears University of Dundee
Lily Asch Real Talk University of Edinburgh
Lorna Paul Web-based Physiotherapy Glasgow Caledonian University
Rana Abu-Mounes Al-Mushkah University of Aberdeen

The above is subject to change.

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