Last Thursday I was delighted to representing ESS at the Converge Challenge Awards dinner 2017 (#CC17Awards) and have the opportunity to meet with some of Scotland’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The event was hosted in the Glasgow Science Centre and is a jewel in the crown of Scotland’s start-up scene. Thanks again to Linc Scotland for the invite!

Converge Challenge supports a variety of ideas and businesses at different stages in their lifecycle where it be a student with an idea in the Kickstart category, a social enterprise, or a company ready to make its first steps into the commercial world with a bit of help in the Main Converge Challenge. It is a very exciting awards dinner to be at with some fantastic ideas!

We were lucky enough to have the Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland, make a keynote speech, where she showcased the definition of the Converge Challenge very succinctly – that we in Scotland are trying to “create innovation, not just be a consumer of it”. This is the core of many of the competitions that we support here at ESS and we are proud to be as supportive to this ecosystem as possible.

There were fantastic talks form several others speakers including Bob Keiller CBE, Professor Sally Mapstone, and David Sibbald OBE. Bob Keiller kindly reminded us all to “Keep your eye on the prize and feet firmly on the ground” which I know can be hard with a prize fund of over £170,000 available across all three categories with Novosound picking up a total of £78,500.

Well done to all the winners and runners-up Novosound, ClinspecDX, Staels Design, Power Enable Solutions, Adelie Health, Web Based Physiotherapy, Forth Valley Rebound Therapy Service CIC, Headspace Design and Birth Mirror.

What we learned from attending the Converge Challenge 2017 Awards is that;

  • Entrepreneurial ideas come in many different forms so don’t be afraid to get your idea out there, as Scotland is listening and supporting these
  • That the start-up is thriving and growing with over 700 applications from 17 Scottish universities and research institutes over the last 6 years
  • Female participation is up 43% a continuing

Next year Converge Challenge will be supporting the Year of Young People 2018 so if you know any young entrepreneurs with heads full of ideas get them to get in touch with Converge Challenge.

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