Student's disinfecting plastic attracts praise from top entrepreneurs

Jack Hoy-Gig Ng with Dr Olga Kozlova and Professor Alan Miller

A new form of plastic with metal nanoparticles that can purify water was the winning pitch when applicants competing for Scotland €™s biggest start-up prize went head-to-head to give 60-second Dragons €™ Den style pitches.

Converge Challenge

The event, which took place on Thursday 7 June, was part of Converge Challenge, the annual competition run by Heriot-Watt which gives students and staff from any Scottish university and Research Institute access to training and support to develop their entrepreneurial skills and explore commercial potential of their inventions.

The winner, selected in September after a four stage process, will be awarded the largest start-up prize in Scotland: £25k cash funding and a further £20k in-kind support in the form of mentoring, training and business assistance.

Elevator Pitch

The Elevator Pitch stage requires the applicant to give a one minute presentation outlining their business proposal. The winner of this stage, Jack Hoy-Gig Ng, has invented a process to produce an antimicrobial and antiviral surface of polyimide that can be used for disinfection in industrial water cooling systems and waste treatment plants. It also has wide applications in medical equipment, such as kidney dialysis machines.

Learning to present in a way that is compelling, confident and convincing is crucial to the success of small and emerging businesses.

Chief Operations Officer, Edinburgh Office of Murgitroyd & Company


Jack Hoy-Gig Ng, a Research Associate at Heriot-Watt, said, "I €™m incredibly pleased that the judges thought my pitch to be the best - it was a nerve-wracking but very thrilling experience to deliver a pitch to leading entrepreneurs. I managed to get the message across and the feedback from the audience was fantastic."

Judges included Terry Murden, business editor of the Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday, Alister Minty of Neuehansa Ltd, and Alan Faichney of Edinburgh Instruments.

Gordon Stark, Chief Operations Officer of the Edinburgh Office of Murgitroyd &  Company,  who helped judge the event, said: "Learning to present in a way that is compelling, confident and convincing is crucial to the success of small and emerging businesses. All 25 participants did very well with Jack making a particularly strong pitch by succinctly communicating the relevance and potential impacts and reach of his product."

Shortlisted projects

Converge Challenge 2012 attracted 50 applicants with 30 being short-listed to take part in the Elevator Pitch and further stages. Shortlisted projects include:

  • Garbage to Gold: reintroducing withdrawn drugs to the market  
  • Eco-friendly inks, fabrics and garment  
  • An online support and networking tool to help single parents get back into work or education  
  • Windows that act as PV cells, generating solar power  
  • An app for diabetics to help them and their health care team monitor condition/share information