Heriot-Watt announced as finalist for Converge Challenge 2016



Heriot-Watt is in the running for the £150k prize with a finalist in the top 10 of the main Converge Challenge award.

Professor Marc Desmulliez, from the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, has been shortlisted with MicroSense Technologies Ltd, a service company based on the patented product called FoodSense that is a sensor system aimed at reducing waste and improving process monitoring in food processing lines for the Food and Drinks industries

Converge Challenge 2016

From 212 applicants this year, the judging process has now shortlisted the top 10 nominees for each of the competition's three categories:

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

The 2016 Converge Challenge category has been the most competitive year yet and includes two previous top 10 finalists and runners up from both the KickStart and Social Enterprise award categories. Converge Challenge's commitment to nurturing new business ideas through its entrepreneurial development programme and expert advice has led to a strong pipeline of new business ideas being developed year on year.

Representing universities from across Scotland the shortlist of nominees represents a diverse mix of sectors including: renewables, food and drink, educational, construction, apps, beauty, healthcare software, security, digital retail and medical device digital healthcare.

Record number of applicants

The 2016 Converge Challenge programme has been the most successful to date with 17 of Scotland's universities represented among 212 applications. This is a record number of applicants and represents 14% growth year on year. Applications were received from Undergraduates (30%), Postgraduates (40%) and staff (30%), with a 34% increase in KickStart applicants and 14% for the Social Enterprise award category.

A panel of expert judges made up of industry experts, leading entrepreneurs and investors from across the business community will now assess the projects and select the winners of the prestigious Converge Challenge awards. This year, Converge Challenge has increased its total prize fund to £150,000 through cash prizes and a broad range of expert support and training that has been provided through partners and sponsors.

The winner of each of the three categories will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh on Thursday 22 September.

Olga Kozlova, Director of Converge Challenge, said:

“It's always tough to shortlist nominees and this year's top 10 are the best yet. We're especially pleased to see  previous applicants back in 2016 with stronger business plans and that Scotland's dynamic and diverse economy is well represented in the range of businesses included. In addition, our 2016 KickStart and Social Enterprise finalists are, I'm pleased to say, all new names to us, which shows a growing appetite in academia for start-ups.

“Converge Challenge is becoming a vital opportunity for start-ups to engage with and it's not only good for them, it's good for Scotland's economy. Over 80% of Converge Challenge companies go on to secure follow-on funding with alumni having secured over £34 million of funding and employing over 150 staff since 2011.”