Scottish female founders win big

Female-led businesses have seen success at the Converge Inside Innovation pitching event, held on the 23rd of June.

The occasion saw 49 Scottish university startups and spinouts participate in a pitching competition at Edinburgh’s Dovecot Studios.

Business leaders were given the opportunity to share their innovative ideas with a room packed full of the country’s top investors and business leaders.

Converge’s event showcased the latest technologies, products, and ideas emerging from Scottish universities that have the potential to grow into successful businesses.

The semi-finalists from three challenge categories – Converge, Net Zero, and Create Change – had 60 seconds each to secure the votes of the 100+ strong audience.

Winning ‘Best Pitch’ in the Converge Challenge was Jodie Sinclair from Theo Health, a health tech startup originating out of the University of Dundee. Her patent-pending smart clothing and app have been created to bridge the gap between physical injury and mental wellness.

Theo Health’s compression shorts include muscle sensors and provide real-time feedback, allowing wearers to measure, track and analyze their muscle development, even before progress is physically visible.

Kaia Waxenberg won in the Net Zero category with her carbon footprint measuring tool, Agrecalc. A spinout from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Kaia has created an independent, evidence-based tool for users across the food supply chain, enabling them to identify and measure the main sources of carbon emissions, monitor improvements, and benchmark key performance indicators. their business operations.

Finally, in the Create Change category, the winner was Alexandra McKenna from Sioda, an eco-conscious social enterprise emerging from the University of Stirling. Sioda provides UK-wide online clothes hire service.

In her keynote address, entrepreneur and investor Ana Stewart called on the Scottish investment ecosystem to “open up to change” – flexing to better include the whole gamut of modern entrepreneurs, rather than expecting them to mold their ideas to fit a narrow environment.

She also noted that equal support for entrepreneurs from all backgrounds is a must to drive an innovative and thriving Scotland.


Stewart, who is a partner at Eos Advisory and chair of the Women in Enterprise Review, said: “Innovation is the lifeblood of every economy, and it is fantastic to see the pipeline of talent and entrepreneurialism emerging from Scotland’s academic sector.

“What’s also great to see is future business leaders from a variety of nationalities, races and genders coming forward.

“As well as reflecting our changing world and demographics, diversity is simply good for business and critical to ensure that we’re open to new ideas to solve our most pressing challenges as a society.”

Commenting on the results, Claudia Cavalluzzo, executive director at Converge, added: “The innovation coming out of Scotland’s universities is astounding. Each idea presented last night has the potential to change lives and benefit millions of people.

“To turn an idea like that into a tangible commercial business takes determination, drive, and tons of passion – and the Converge cohort delivered that, in spades.

“I’d like to congratulate everyone who took part in the speed pitching – it is no easy task to summarize your passion project in less than a minute. Our three triumphant pitchers are in pole position to do well at our flagship awards ceremony later this year when they will compete with the rest of this year’s cohort for the main cash prize. “

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