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What is Converge Challenge?

Converge Challenge is the leading, pan-Scotland company creation programme for staff, students and recent graduates of all Scottish universities and research institutes, with the aim of creating a new generation of entrepreneurs in Scotland.

Converge brings together the most ambitious and creative thinkers from academia, research and business. We work with ALL industry sectors, products and service-based ideas at any stage of the development.

By providing high-quality training, hands-on mentoring and practical support, including cash prizes, Converge Challenge helps to refine and accelerate the pipeline of spin-outs and start-ups by developing fledgling businesses into investor ready companies.

The ambition and goal of Converge Challenge is to create sustainable profitable companies and help Scotland grow as a CAN DO competitive economy by giving students and staff commercial skills to bring new products and services to market.

The total prize and training fund for Converge Challenge 2018 was over £160,000+.
 

Benefits of entering Converge Challenge?

Converge Challenge is focused on developing the entrepreneurial skills of students and university researchers through a rigorous programme of support and engagement over an 18 month period. Working with experienced facilitators from the universities and private sector, participants receive training, coaching and one-to-one mentoring as well as substantial cash prizes for the winners.

The first place Converge Challenge winner receives £43,000 in cash to start their business – a huge injection at a vital stage in a young company's development plus a further £28,000 in business support from our industry expert partners.

The main Converge Challenge categories are:

  • Converge Challenge
  • KickStart: for early stage ideas
  • Social Enterprise : positive impact on social and environmental issues

2018 Winners

The Converge Challenge 2018 Design & Creativity prize was awarded to Dr Sam Chapman and Professor Gabriela Medero of Kenoteq from Heriot-Watt University. Read all about the winners.

Benefits of entering

  • Hands on mentoring
  • 1-2-1 advice
  • Positive publicity
  • Connect with like-minded people
  • Better developed propositions
  • Financial planning
  • Presentation Skills
  • Free access to training
  • Intellectual property advice
  • Market research
  • Build your confidence and key business skills
  • Writing proposals
  • Networking skills

The highlights and impact of Converge Challenge Converge 

  • Converge Challenge programme attracted nearly 900 applications from across all Scottish Universities from 2011 to 2016. 
  • Over the last 6 years 78 of our alumni have formed companies representing an incorporation rate of 43%
  • The male to female ratio of applications remains strong with over 40% of female participants making up the top 60 in 2017
  • Year on year Converge Challenge engages with around 30 Converge projects by providing high quality training and additional 30 early stage ideas through the KickStart competition.
  • Converge Challenge is a leading example of the Scottish ecosystem working well together with many previous winners having received support from the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Institute for Enterprise and Entrepreneurial Exchange.

The training and prizes for Converge Challenge are jointly funded by Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Heriot-Watt, St Andrews, Stirling and Strathclyde universities, along with the Scottish Funding Council.

We also receive additional support from Edinburgh Napier University, Robert Gordon University and the University of the West of ScotlandConverge Challenge collaborates with other organisations supporting idea generation such as the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE), Entrepreneurial Scotland, Enterprise Campus, Scottish EDGE and Youth Enterprise Scotland to ensure alumni get access to ongoing opportunities such as networking events and a large pool of advice to commercialise their work.

Get involved!

The Converge Challenge 2018 programme has now closed for entries. The programme will launch again in March 2019. For information and updates visit www.convergechallenge.com

If you have any questions, please e-mail info@convergechallenge.com and we would be happy to chat!