Converge Challenge lists top 60 university start-ups

Converge Challengers Michael Tougher, left, and Jordan Smith from Glasgow School of Art. Picture: Lesley Martin
Converge Challengers Michael Tougher, left, and Jordan Smith from Glasgow School of Art. Picture: Lesley Martin
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The top 60 “Converge Challengers” for 2016 have been announced following a company creation competition aimed at staff, students, and recent graduates of Scottish universities.

Converge Challenge has three core award categories – for those with an established idea, for early-stage ideas and those focused on social enterprise. The initiative achieved a new record of 212 entrants this year.

Business ideas among the main Converge Challenge category included zero-waste clothing, a game that helps children to play music, technology that can recycle construction waste into bricks, a non-invasive test for brain cancer and a “selfie challenge” game.

Olga Kozlova, director of Converge Challenge, said: “This year we have a diverse range of applicants with very strong representation from all the key industries in Scotland, including tourism, food and drink, renewables, life sciences and the creative industries.

“We are delighted to see previous participants back again in 2016 with a stronger position and we continue to see growth in the number of applicants using digital platforms for the delivery of products and services, recognising the importance of the tech sector in Scotland.”

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The successful Challengers will go on to participate in entrepreneurial training and development at RBS Gogarburn before taking to the stage to present their “elevator pitches” to an expert panel of judges on 2 June.

They are competing for the chance to win the overall top prize valued at £150,000 – made up of a cash prize and a broad range of expert support and training provided through partners and sponsors.

Kozlova added: “At Converge we provide a full package and we work with participants to develop their business plan, identify their funding options, and understand the role of marketing and communications right down to their own branding.

“We continue to see strong success rates, with 70 per cent of Converge Challenge companies going on to secure follow-on funding and an 85 per cent survival rate for companies after two years.”

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A full list of all finalists can be found on the Converge Challenge website.