Eve delivers a grand pitch

A veterinary investigations officer at SRUC has beaten strong competition from around the country to take the £1000 first prize with a virtual pitch.

Eve Hanks impressed judges in the semi-finals of this year’s Converge Challenge, which showcases the latest innovations from Scotland’s higher education sector.

Eve’s pitch was about her new company MI:RNA, which was formed as a result of an Innovation Hub Orchard project that started in 2019.

The business will provide a unique, cost-effective diagnostic assay that identifies heart disease in animals.

Eve said: “Winning the judges’ vote helps to really confirm for me that the business is moving in the right direction and that our product is being presented correctly. The judges found the pitch credible, clear and they recognised the fantastic market opportunity that lies ahead. I hope this is the start of a really exciting period of growth for MI:RNA Ltd.”

The judges’ prize also included a mentoring session with investment guru and serial angel investor, Paul Atkinson.

Designed to showcase semi-finalists across three challenge categories – Impact, Creative and Converge – this year’s Converge events were held virtually with attendees including university principals, senior academic staff, entrepreneurs, investors, Converge funders and partners and the media.

Hosted by Scottish news presenter Halla Mohieddeen, and billed as an evening with Scotland’s leading and future innovators, the Converge semi-final showcased 29 aspiring academic entrepreneurs from across Scotland. Around 320 attendees from across Scotland, the UK and overseas including Switzerland, Belgium, Poland, India, Germany and the USA, tuned in to watch them deliver a 60-second elevator pitch.

An investor-led panel of judges which included Fraser Lusty of Equity Gap; Gillian Fleming of Mint Ventures and Steven Morris of ESM Investments selected Eve’s winning pitch.

Claudia Cavalluzzo, Director of Converge, said: “Pitching your business is one of the most important skills to harness as an entrepreneur. Whether it’s raising investment or gaining new customers, pitching is an essential skill which is why it is such a key part of our business training programme.

“Pitching doesn’t always come naturally, however, which is why I’ve been blown away by the standard of our semi-finalists this year. They almost make it look easy! Huge congratulations to everyone for taking part.”

This week’s events followed two weeks of intensive business and pitch training designed to equip this year’s Converge semi-finalists with the skills they need to further develop their ventures. In the next phase of the programme, semi-finalists will submit a business plan with the very best ideas going forward to the Converge Awards final on 24 September.

Teresa Shutter, head of SRUC’s Innovation Hub, said: “We’d like to congratulate Eve on this fantastic achievement and wish her all the best for the rest of the competition.”

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Posted by SRUC on 02/07/2020

Tags: Awards, Veterinary Services, Research
Categories: SRUC and Campuses