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ECCI duo top of the class for university-led innovation

ECCI start-ups SolarisKit and Seawater Solutions are among the finalists for Converge 2019, Scotland’s leading entrepreneurial development programme for Higher Education.

Currently part of ECCI’s Climate-KIC Accelerator programme, Faisal Ghani, founder of SolarisKit and Yanik Adam Nyberg of Seawater Solutions are two of the five companies in the Converge Impact Challenge.

The innovative duo will go forward to the Converge Awards Final later in the month where a total prize fund of cash and in-kind support worth £220,000 awaits winners in the Impact, Creative and Converge categories.

For the first time in the Programme’s history, women founders outnumber men (55%) and climate change and health care innovations led the shortlist.

Judges were impressed by SolarisKit's flat-pack, solar collector that provides an affordable source of clean heat for people in developing countries and Seagrass Solutions’ work with farmers around Scotland and Vietnam to develop innovative sustainable farming techniques using seawater.

ECCI alum Lorenzo Conti of Crover was also one of the eight finalists the Converge category. Lorenzo was supported by ECCI at ClimateLaunchpad 2018, beating off stiff competition from hundreds of international competitors to come third place in the world’s biggest green ideas competition.

CEO and founder of solar thermal collector SolarisKit, Dr Faisal Ghani (pictured) said:

“We are delighted to be through to the finals of the Converge Impact Challenge. Going through the process in parallel with the Climate-KIC programme at ECCI has led us to changing our original business model and really focus on our beachhead market.

"We have a much better idea now what steps we need to complete prior to seeking investment so we can start installing our solar collectors in Africa as soon as possible. I’ve also never worn a tux so I’m looking forward to the dinner at the V&A!”

Yanik Adam Nyberg, Seawater Solutions founder and CEO said: It's been a big year for us at Seawater Solutions. First harvest, first sales, and first seawater farm in the country!

"Being a finalist in the Converge Impact Challenge is a real validation of our work to date, and we couldn’t have done it without the support of ECCI and its community network that was key in getting us this far."

The Converge Final will take place at Dundee’s V&A design museum on the Wenesday 25 September.

Could you benefit from ECCI's start-up programmes?

Climate-KIC Accelerator is ECCI's three-stage programme for low carbon entrepreneurs and start-ups in the UK.