CONVERGE, the company creation programme focused on the university sector in Scotland, has noted signs that academic entrepreneurialism is recovering following a number of challenging years.

The programme said the number of applications to the challenge schemes it runs increased by seven per cent in the latest year, to more than 200.

It received applications from staff, students, or recent graduates of all Scotland’s universities. These are competing for a share of a £300,000 funding pot to advance their ideas.

The response to the competitions suggests interest in entrepreneurship may have recovered from the impact of the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

Claudia Cavalluzzo, executive director at Converge, said she was particularly encouraged to see more diversity among applicants to the programme.

Converge reported significant increases in submissions from women, the BAME community and people with a disability.

It noted: “Female applicants now account for more than a third (38%) of all applications – an increase of 15% on last year’s tally. Entries from the BAME community doubled year on year.”

The programme has supported 500 entrepreneurs and the creation of more than 300 companies since it launched in 2011.

Ms Cavalluzzo said many alumni had gone on to generate international commercial interest. She cited the Current Health and Cyacomb technology businesses.