By Press Office 18 May 2015

Four entries from Queen Margaret University have been submitted by students and academics to take part in this year’s Converge Challenge.

The Queen Margaret University entries are buoyed by the overall national picture which sees submissions up 68% across 17 of Scotland’s Universities and Research Institutes, rising to 186 against a total of 111 in 2014.

Scotland’s flagship academic entrepreneurship initiative covers three categories - Converge, KickStart and Social Enterprise. The submissions received by the Converge Challenge organisers demonstrates the Queen Margaret University flair for proactively supporting and encouraging students and research staff to bring forward a plethora of strong ideas which focus on innovation, creativity and provide value and worth in areas such as healthcare, technology, medical devices, amongst others.

Converge Challenge remains Scotland’s premier entrepreneurial company creation competition with the largest first prize of cash - £100,000 and a comprehensive pledged business mentoring and training support package. The entrepreneurship start-up programme is funded by the eight Scottish research universities and the Scottish Funding Council, as well as receiving  support from  creative organisations such as Entrepreneurial Scotland, whose Chairman is renowned Scottish entrepreneur and gaming visionary Chris van der Kuyl.

He Comments;

“Scotland is on a never ending journey in its quest to uncover ambitious and creative thinkers from academic research and Converge Challenge is the ‘standard bearer’ for cutting edge innovation in our country. Just three months ago, Converge Challenge issued a clarion call to all Scottish Universities and research institutes to bring forward their ideas and here we are with 186 applications being considered  for the next stage in June – the Elevator Pitch. This is a proactive and dynamic process which brings so much vibrant energy and creativity to the academic innovation process and QMU can be proud of its endeavours”

Converge Challenge Director, Dr. Olga Kozlova adds;

“This is the sixth year for the Converge Challenge programme and I am delighted to see several milestones reached. A third of our submissions are from female applicants. There has also been an increase in submissions across 17 of Scotland’s Universities and Research Institutes this year and this is so encouraging to help the continuous building of the entrepreneurial environment across our higher academic institutions. “

For the participants there is now an anxious wait to see if they made it into the Elevator Pitch stage which will take place on the 2 nd June at Surgeon’s Hall in Edinburgh, when they have to deliver a 60 second pitch to a panel of judges, a hundred-strong audience and a ticking clock. Keynote speakers at this event are Chris van der Kuyl, Chairman of Entrepreneurial Scotland and Kerry Sharp, Head of Scottish Investment Bank, Scottish Enterprise. And this would be just a small part of the tasks they have to complete before the winners are announced on the 29 th of September at the awards dinner held at The Barony, University of Strathclyde.

Since its first launch in 2010 Converge Challenge has grown every year attracting more and more of university-based entrepreneurs and enabling them to develop their entrepreneurial skills and explore commercial potential of their inventions. The programme delivers nearly 30% incorporation rate and 4 out of 5 of these businesses has gone on to secure follow-on funding. The organisers are looking forward to see what this record year is going to bring.

For more information visit www.convergechallenge.com

Notes to Editor

For further media information please contact Jonathan Perkins, Press and PR Officer, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, tel: 0131 474 0000, Email: jperkins@qmu.ac.uk

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