The expert judging panel selected five finalists in the social enterprise category, for ideas that will have a positive impact on social and environmental issues:
- Callum MacKinnon, Forth Valley Rebound Therapy Service CIC, Glasgow Caledonian University
- Alice Horton, Open Ears, University of Dundee
- Lily Asch, Real Talk, University of Edinburgh
- Lorna Paul, Web-based Physiotherapy, Glasgow Caledonian University
- Rana Abu-Mounes, Al-Mushkah , University of Aberdeen
A total of 25 nominees were shortlisted across the three awards categories. Alongside the five social entrepreneurs, ten finalists were selected under the Converge Challenge award (for those with an established idea) and ten for the KickStart category (focusing on early stage ideas).
Kirstie Penman, Firstport Programme Manager, was on the judging panel for the Social Enterprise category.
Finalists will now go through to the final stage of the company creation competition and entrepreneurship development programme, with the opportunity to win cash prizes and business support packages from the total prize fund valued at over £170,000.
Dr Olga Kozlova, Director of Converge Challenge, said: “This year’s finalists are game changers showcasing innovations with amazing market potential. The candidate’s business plans displayed solid market engagement and commitment to developing a strong team and clear details on how they plan to grow the business – all key elements that contribute to the future success of a new business and ultimately Scotland’s economy.
“The strong pipeline of university spin-outs is encouraging and at Converge Challenge we are delighted to offer the follow on training and support to develop these ‘ideas’ into profitable and scalable businesses.
“We congratulate all the candidates for getting through to this stage, the judges found it difficult as every project had the potential to become an exciting business and we have no doubt they will go on to become Scotland’s next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.”
Converge Challenge is Scotland’s leading company creation competition and entrepreneurial development programme for staff, students, and recent graduates of Scottish universities and Research Institutes. 17 Scottish universities and research institutes are represented, demonstrating the strong collaborative enterprise agenda in Scotland. It has trained 180 company founders and 120 early stage and social enterprise founders that have created 78 companies with a 43% incorporation rate. 77% of those companies have received follow-on funding totalling to £60 million and have a 78% survival rate post three years.
The winners of each of the three categories will be announced at a Converge Challenge awards ceremony on Thursday, 28 September 2017 at the Glasgow Science Centre.
Read the Converge Challenge announcement here.