Media Release: Final call for £45k business start-ups prize

ASPIRING entrepreneurs from universities across Scotland who want £45k to support their business idea have less than two weeks left to submit their applications to the Converge Challenge competition.

The Converge Challenge, run by Heriot-Watt University, gives students and members of staff of any Scottish university the chance to develop the commercial potential of their inventions.

Says a spokesperson: “By offering business mentorship and training budding entrepreneurs can bring new products and services to market helping Scotland’s economy grow and prosper.

“The Challenge offers the largest start-up prize in Scotland, providing the winner with £25k cash funding and a further £20k in-kind support from the private sector in the form of mentoring, training and business assistance.

“Applicants who are shortlisted will be asked to deliver an elevator pitch, when they will have just 60 seconds to sell their business ideas to the judges. Finalists will be up against the most ambitious and creative thinkers in Scotland.”

Olga Kozlova, creator of Converge Challenge, said: “Scotland has a track record of producing some of the world’s best research and teaching resources.

“Converge Challenge is about equipping people with the right skills and support they need to turn their academic research into a successful commercial venture. And we are looking to increase the pool of successful home-grown entrepreneurs.

“We’ve already received applications from across the country and we’d urge any university students and staff who have a business idea to rise to the challenge and put themselves in the running for this prize.”

Adam Brown, founder of Bellrock, based at Strathclyde University, and winner of Converge Challenge 2011, said: “Converge Challenge was a great opportunity to stress-test our business plan and refine our strategy to commercialise Lumen®.

“Since winning, the in-kind support has been extremely useful in preparing Bellrock Technology for spinout and its first customer contracts.

“The coaching and mentoring support has, in particular, helped to clarify my role in the business and has encouraged me to broaden my responsibilities.

“I believe that contacts I have made through the competition will prove invaluable to the long-term success of the business.

“Overall, I would strongly encourage anyone with a new business idea to get involved in this year’s competition.”

To take part in Converge Challenge 2012, interested entrepreneurs should complete the application on the Converge Challenge page by Friday 18 May.


Notes to editor

1. Achievements of Converge Challenge

Since first launching in 2010, Converge Challenge has:

• Received over 80 applications from nine universities across Scotland

• Trained over 50 research entrepreneurs

• Seen over 350 staff and students attend associated seminars and workshops

• Supported five companies into commercial trading, four to reaching the stage of incorporating and eight others on the path to incorporating

2. Key dates in the Converge Challenge

Deadline for initial applications Friday 18 May

Residential training workshop Thursday 7 – Friday 8 June

Elevator pitch competition Thursday 7 June

Deadline for full business plans Friday 3 August

Top ten selected Monday 20 August

Judges select top 6 Monday 3 September

Final pitches and awards dinner Thursday 27 September

3. For more information on the Converge Challenge, visit: http://www.hw.ac.uk/industry/collaborate-with-us/converge-challenge.htm

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