Heriot-Watt academic reaches final of Scotland-wide business competition

Dr Dawn Maskell

Heriot-Watt Research Associate and Alumni, Dawn Maskell, has beaten off tough competition to make it to the final of this year's Converge Challenge.

Horizon Proteins

Dr Maskell has developed Horizon Proteins, a competitive and sustainable source of proteins for feed industries, which impressed the judging panel and secured her place in the final six.

About Converge Challenge

The winner of Converge Challenge '13 will be awarded the top prize of £35,000 cash, with a further £25,000 in-kind support package to help turn their research into a successful commercial venture.

As well as the largest prize of its kind available, the programme gives participants access to training, business support, one-to-one mentoring and networking opportunities to develop their entrepreneurial skills and explore the commercial potential of their inventions. The programme is funded by eight Scottish Universities, The Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Scottish Funding Council.

A record number of entries

"Dawn and the other five short-listed entrants have a market-focussed product or service, and have demonstrated impressive commercial acumen and business planning."
Olga Kozlova, Director of Converge Challenge

A record number of entries were received this year and the top 30 were selected to attend a three day commercialisation training course at Heriot-Watt. As part of the course, applicants had to deliver a 60 second elevator pitch to an audience of 130 guests from industry and academia, followed by deliverance of a full business plan in August. The panel then selected the top ten participants who will receive business development training and one-to-one mentoring over the next 12 months. The final six entrants have been short-listed and are now in the running to win the top prize.

Olga Kozlova, Director of Converge Challenge, said, "The Converge Challenge is about equipping people with the right skills and support they need to turn their research into a successful commercial venture.

New businesses like these set the tone for Scotland's continuance as a centre of excellence for aspiration and innovation. Dawn and the other five short-listed entrants have a market-focussed product or service, and have demonstrated impressive commercial acumen and business planning."

Awards Dinner

The final six must now prepare to deliver an investor pitch to the esteemed judging panel with the winners announced at an Awards Dinner hosted by Heriot-Watt University on 24 September at the Edinburgh Conference Centre, Heriot-Watt University. The keynote speaker will be John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth in the Scottish Government.