Tech business turning waste water fresh announced as Converge Kickstart winner

Waterwhelm, an early-stage business which aims to address a worldwide lack of clean water, has won the 2019 Converge KickStart event, picking up the top prize of £10,000.

Founder Dr Ali Abbassi Monjezi, a research associate at Edinburgh University’s School of Engineering aims to commercialise an innovative self-powered technology that produces fresh water from waste water whilst simultaneously generating electricity.

Dr Monjezi has been working for several years on a solution to this problem, which according to UNICEF, leaves 2.5 billion people worldwide lacking access to clean water. Moreover, given the rate of expected population growth, this will become even more challenging in the years ahead.

He beat strong competition from a variety of high potential projects whose quality was the highest recorded for this category, said organisers.

The finalists came up with brilliant concepts in circular economy, sensor technology, life science, gender equality in opera and so much more.

Dr Claudia Cavalluzzo.

Runner up, winning £5,000, was Saskia Goeres from Designed for Life, a collaboration between the Glasgow School of Art and Glasgow University.  Her first product, Sofa for Life, is a portable, washable and easily repaired sofa. Designed for Life’s line of products will aim to dramatically reduce landfill waste caused by low value furniture.

Speaking at the KickStart Awards, Dr Claudia Cavalluzzo, director of Converge, said: “Submissions for the 2019 KickStart programme have surpassed all our expectations, not just in the number of applications received, but in their quality and creativity.

“The diversity of ideas is simply wonderful. The finalists came up with brilliant concepts in circular economy, sensor technology, life science, gender equality in opera and so much more. These ideas uphold this country’s proud tradition for exceptional invention and creativity.

“Through the KickStart programme, we aim to identify and support ideas that show great growth potential, innovation and creativity.  This year’s winners embody our vision and make us proud to work for such a worthy organisation. 

“Scotland’s Higher Education is strongly committed to developing entrepreneurship across a wide and diverse range of disciplines. It helps to see a much bigger picture that sets our people on a path of business creation which contributes to Scotland’s burgeoning enterprise economy.

“I heartily congratulate both Dr Monjezi and Ms Goeres on their achievements today and look forward to hearing how they will flourish in the months ahead.”

Converge KickStart Award is the early stage ideas platform that forms part of Converge, Scotland’s leading company creation programme which acts as a springboard for the next generation of entrepreneurs.

The 2019 Converge KickStart event was held at The Open Experience, RBS, Gogarburn.

Pictured: Dr Ali Abbassi Monjezi and Saskia Goeres