Converge Challenge 2015 logoWhat is Converge Challenge?

Converge Challenge is a high profile, pan-Scotland company creation competition and entrepreneurship development programme for staff, students and recent graduates of Heriot-Watt University and all Scottish universities and research institutes. The competition is aimed at creating a new generation of entrepreneurs in Scotland.

Converge Challenge works with any industry sector, product or service-based ideas at any stage of the development. The total prize and training fund in Converge Challenge 2016 was over £150,000.

Why enter 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 sponsors such as Morton Fraser, Murgitroyd, and Mazars.

The main Converge Challenge categories are:

Converge Challenge

KickStart: for early stage ideas

Social Enterprise : positive impact on social and environmental issues

Since 2011, Converge Challenge has attracted nearly 700 applications, has delivered residential training to 150 company founders and 90 early stage ideas and has awarded cash prizes to representatives of 14 Scottish Universities.  Former Converge participants have jointly formed 62 companies with 41% incorporation rate and over 80% surviving beyond three years.  Jointly the companies formed within Converge Challenge have raised over £37 million of funding through grants, investment and sales, and they employ over 158 staff.

Converge 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.

Celebrating success

The first place prize of Converge Challenge 2016 was jointly awarded to MicroSense Technologies Ltd from Heriot-Watt University and MindMate from University of Glasgow.  MicroSense Technologies is led by Professor Marc Desmulliez of Heriot-Watt University, a sensor system aimed at reducing waste and improving process monitoring in food processing lines for the Food and Drinks industries. MindMate led by Susanne Mitschke of University of Glasgow is an assistance platform for people with dementia, their caregivers and family members. 

The joint winners each received a cash prize of £30,000 and combined business support valued at nearly £35,000. Business support will include world class advice and support from RBS, Badenoch & Clark, Mazars, Murgitroyd, Morton Ward, and Morton Fraser. Also, for the first time, MicroSense will automatically be placed in the Scottish EDGE semifinals in early 2017 and both MicroSense and MindMate will pitch on stage in May 2017 to key investors and stakeholders at EIE17, Scotland’s premiere technology investor showcase.

Will Heriot-Watt University produce another winner in 2017?

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

Get involved!

Applications for Converge Challenge 2017 will launch online in February 2017 at www.convergechallenge.com and can be a product or service, in any industry sector and at any stage. If you have any questions, please e-mail info@convergechallenge.com and we'd be happy to chat!