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Start-ups and spin-outs to battle it out for £220,000 prize fund 

The finalists for Converge 2019, Scotland’s leading entrepreneurial development programme for Higher Education, have been revealed, illustrating how Scotland’s Universities are ‘competing on the global stage with ground breaking innovations.’

Eighteen academic entrepreneurs leading both start-ups and spin-outs and representing institutions from across the length and breadth of Scotland, will now go head-to-head at the Converge Awards Final which takes place at the iconic V&A, Dundee on Wednesday, 25 September. 

For the first time in the Programme’s history, women founders outnumber men (55%). Climate change and health care also lead the charge this year with the shortlisted projects spanning everything from a human skin culture system that mimics living skin and a flat-pack, solar collector providing an affordable source of clean heat for people in developing countries through to a computer game aimed at gamifying the physiotherapy routine for children suffering from Cystic Fibrosis.

Finalists are now chasing a prize package of equity-free cash and in-kind business support totalling £220,000 which will be shared across three challenge categories: Converge Challenge, Creative Challenge and Impact Challenge.

Converge Director, Dr Claudia Cavalluzzo, said: “Innovation has never been more important that it is today, not just in terms of generating economic growth, but also as a solution to some of society’s most urgent challenges including climate change, social inclusion and public health. The calibre of this year’s Converge finalists is proof positive that our Universities are playing a pivotal role in the enterprise agenda and are at the forefront of innovation for the public good.

“By working closely with all Scotland’s Universities, we help the most creative thinkers from academia to turn their discoveries and ideas into commercially viable businesses. We are delighted to be working with such a strong cohort of innovators and look forward to springboarding their success.”

The full list of finalists is:

Impact Challenge

Astellis – Maggie Ellis – University of St Andrews
Konglomerate Games – Jamie Bankhead – Abertay University 
Seawater Solutions – Yanik Nyberg – University of Strathclyde
SolarisKit – Faisal Ghani – Heriot-Watt University
S’wheat – Amee Ritchie – Queen Margaret University  

Creative Challenge

Atypical Cosmetics Ltd – Marwa Ebrahim – University of Glasgow/The Glasgow School of Art 
Sculpture Placement Group – Kate Robertson – Queen Margaret University
SENSEcity Ltd – Pooja Katara – University of Glasgow/The Glasgow School of Art
Sing Hero – Elizabeth Jenkinson – The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Untitled Comics – Cliff Hughes – Robert Gordon University 

Converge Challenge 

Beltfree by Miss James – Emma James – Robert Gordon University
Crover Ltd – Lorenzo Conti – University of Edinburgh
In4Derm – Andrew Woodland – University of Dundee 
mycoBiologics – Fiona Rudkin – University of Aberdeen
Natantis – Maiwenn Kersaudy-Kerhoas – Heriot-Watt University
Nebu-Flow – Elijah Nazarzadeh – University of Glasgow 
Speak:Unique – Alice Smith – University of Edinburgh 
Ten Bio – Michael Conneely – University of Dundee

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