Six projects from the University of Strathclyde have been named on the shortlist for a Scotland-wide entrepreneurial competition.
The projects have reached the semi-finals of the Converge KickStart Challenge, an early-stage entrepreneurial development programme for university staff, students and recent graduates across Scotland.
The nominees have produced innovative ideas in fields including off-grid energy, dental care and robotics.
The 32 semi-finalists of the competition will now be invited to take part in two days of intensive business training designed specifically for academic entrepreneurs. They will then be asked to submit a business case for a place in the final in February. The overall winner will receive £10,000, with £5,000 going to the runner-up.
The Strathclyde nominees are:
- Florian Schabus for Tremodent, a toothbrush enabling people affected by,neurological disorders that cause involuntary shaking, such as Parkinson’s and Essential Tremor, to brush their teeth with ease. With the use of movement stabilising technology, Tremodent could help the 450,000 people in the UK who suffer from a severe form of tremor to brush their teeth independently
- Saber Khayatzadeh for Crack Map, a project looking to reduce the cost, time and risks associated with the health monitoring of engineering structures in the offshore wind industry. Using a novel digitalised approach, Crack Map will help to increase the lifespan of structures without the need for human interaction
- Bartosz Soltowski for Connex Solar, an interdisciplinary team of students developing plug-and-play microgrid technology that will transform off-grid electrification in the developing world. The company, a previous winner of the Iberdrola Scottish Power Challenge, is conducting field trials of its technology in Rwanda
- Joe Gibson for Gibson Robotics, a company working in the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence. Joe was the overall winner of the Telegraph STEM Awards in 2017
- Mohammed Al Qaraghuli for SiMologics, a biotech start-up company that designs enhanced biotherapeutics with the ultimate aim to become market leader in the field of photothermal therapies. The company is initially targeting head and neck cancer, (HNC), which affects more than 600,000 patients every year
- Engineering alumnus Ryan Fearne for Mór Protection.
Five of the companies – Tremodent, Crack Map, Connex Solar, Gibson Robotics and SiMologics - have been supported by Strathclyde Entreprenuerial Network, the University’s company creation and growth resource and support centre.
Converge Director Dr Claudia Cavalluzzo said: “Every year we wait for the KickStart application deadline with trepidation, not knowing how many or what type of projects will come through. However, the breadth and creativity of applications that the challenge attracts never fail to disappoint and this year is no exception.
“It’s also heartening to see so many Universities responding to the climate emergency by supporting many incredible ideas and innovations that have the power to change lives. It’s great to see a new generation of entrepreneurs in Scotland joining the fight to keep our planet not only surviving but thriving.
“We look forward to working with our KickStart cohort in the months ahead and helping them refine and validate their early-stage business ideas through customer discovery training, pitch coaching and the wrap-around support offered by our team and partners”
A success story from KickStart is its 2014 winner, healthcare technology company Current Health, formerly Snap40. Its CEO, Strathclyde alumnus Chris McCann, recently announced an investment round in the company of $11.5 million.