Two University of Strathclyde entries have reached the finals of Converge, Scotland’s leading leading company creation programme for the university sector.
They are among 28 contenders across four categories to have been selected for the final stages, from an initial field of 200.
The finalists will be competing for cash prizes worth a total of more than £300,000, including equity-free awards of up to £50,000 and in-kind business support from Converge’s network of professional partners, which includes some of the country’s leading investors, lawyers, and business experts.
The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Edinburgh on 3 November, which will feature an address by Ivan McKee, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise.
Strathclyde produced the overall winner of the 2021 Converge Challenge, pre-spinout pharmaceutical company Fitabeo Therapeutics, and had three-runners up in the event.
Strathclyde’s representatives in the 2022 finals are:
- Design, Manufacturing & Engineering Management Alumnus Fergal Mackie, CEO of prosthetics company Metacarpal, in the Create Change Challenge. Up to 46% of hand amputees stop using prosthetics altogether, which does not just limit function, but crucially, leads to the development of debilitating ailments such as arthritis. Metacarpal has updated a technology that is loved by users for its quick and simple operation, yet long-forgotten by prosthetic development. This has been combined with the most desired features in electronic hands to ensure that amputees get a device that has an appearance that boosts their confidence, adds utility to their lives and, crucially, is at a price that is accessible
- Matthew McLean, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering alumnus, of Airspection, in the KickStart Challenge. Airspection is an inspection service for wind turbine operators who want to improve the reliability and safety of their turbines while reducing operation costs. Unlike current solutions which use crewed vessels to sail to each individual turbine then launch drones for inspection – which can take up to a month to scan a full wind farm – Airspection utilises high endurance drones which launch from shore and scan multiple turbines in a single day. The company can scan three times as many turbines as other operators and provide a 25% saving on current market prices.
Three additional awards will be presented at the ceremony: the Future Tech award; the Rose Award for female entrepreneurs, and the new IBioIC Award, sponsored by the Strathclyde-hosted Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre. The IBioIC Award offers a package of support to one successful biotech project, including a free membership to IBioIC, a dedicated IBioIC account manager and £20,000 in project funding for the university where the project originated.
The companies have received support from Strathclyde Inspire, the University’s flagship entrepreneurship programme, which offers entrepreneurial training and opportunities to every student, staff member and alumnus.
Claudia Cavalluzzo, Executive Director of Converge, said: “Scotland’s world-class universities continue to be brilliant hotbeds of innovation and creativity, as exemplified by this year’s Converge finalist cohort.
“The judges who reviewed this year’s cohort’s business plans believe that these emerging entrepreneurs are leading projects with real market potential and the power to strengthen our economy while creating a fairer future for all. The promise for all these 28 fledgling companies is huge, and the Converge team will be right behind them in championing their ground-breaking ideas.”