Claudia Cavalluzzo, Director, Converge
Scotland’s world-beating universities remain a hotbed of new, innovative ideas and inventions. However, taking a bright idea from academia and turning it into a successful, profitable business is no mean feat. It takes courage, acumen and a lot of support. And no one can do this alone.
Our modus operandi is rooted in the Higher Education Sector where we collaborate with all Universities to support, enhance and celebrate Scotland’s best and brightest aspiring entrepreneurs.
Working closely with each institution, Converge helps create, nurture and springboard a pipeline of high-growth companies and promote an entrepreneurial mind-set within the academic communities. The past few years have seen a large number of our academic entrepreneurs making great strides in advanced, ‘smart’ technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Fintech.
Many creative minds are now developing the next generation of technologies to support ongoing growth in the digital technology environment, and a well-developed infrastructure that supports growth from early stage ideas to fully fledged businesses.
This combination of creative and technological excellence provides Scotland with a significant opportunity to build on a globally competitive 21st century digital infrastructure. Look at how the origins of Robotics, AI and Blockchain are completely immersed in the digital creative and technology engineering process, where ten years ago, much of this was confined to the university laboratory. Now, these creative technologies have emerged to impact on our daily lives in ways we couldn’t have imagined then.
This is yet more evidence that the digital creative and technology industries are flourishing. From a profusion of app developers working on areas such as health monitoring and other pioneering med-tech initiatives, to software and coding experts pushing the frontiers of ‘smart’ technologies, we really have embraced this new wave of innovation.
These aspirational academic and early stage entrepreneurs setting out on the business journey have ambition and focus in abundance. We continue to build on our core strengths of creativity, diversity and technological excellence to further develop a ‘digital’ sector that remains ambitious, diverse and innovative, with a world class reputation for quality and creativity underpinned with a strong business focus.
So, when Converge Challenge – as it was then known - started out as a business plan competition in 2011 at Heriot-Watt University to stimulate research commercialisation – little did we know that it would become Scotland’s academic entrepreneurial flagship programme and is now firmly embedded as the key component across the Scottish innovation & entrepreneurial eco-system.
Moreover, we could not have foreseen the explosion in digital innovation that has helped shape innovation.
Converge is a great example of a multi-University collaboration where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Inspiring, Creative, Smart …….and made in Scotland!