'Best pitch' accolade for Aberdeen researcher.
A researcher from the University of Aberdeen has been crowned winner of a national competition aimed at developing entrepreneurial skills within the higher education sector.
Fiona Rudkin, a research fellow in Applied Medicine, wowed the judges to win Best Pitch in the Converge Challenge for her pitch on mycoBiologics, a bio-tech company dedicated to improving the survival of patients suffering from life-threatening, drug-resistant infections.
Ready, Steady, Pitch! - a live pitching competition - was hosted by Converge and attended by investors, business leaders and Scotland’s wider entrepreneurial eco-system. Thirty semi-finalists had just 60 seconds to present their innovative ideas to a panel of experts that included Gordon Stark, Chief Operations Officer at Murgitroyd.
The event followed three days of intensive business training designed to equip this year’s Converge semi-finalists with the robust business skills they needed 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 2019 final in Dundee on September 25.
Fiona said: “The type of infections we are targeting include fungal and bacterial infections. With increasing drug resistance and limited classes of drugs available to treat these infections, there is a serious threat to global health. At the current rate of resistance, we run the risk of being sent back to the dark ages where routine operations are no longer possible and by 2050, more people are killed by drug-resistant infections than by cancer.
“Mycobiologics is dedicated to tackling this issue by developing human antibody-based drugs as new anti-infective products that have the potential to be safer with a lower risk of drug resistance.
The next step for the company will be to complete preclinical proof-of-concept studies and secure private investment to enable us to spin out from the University of Aberdeen as a new biotech company.”
Claudia Cavalluzzo, Director of Converge, said: “Whether it’s attracting potential new customers or raising investment, pitching is an essential skill that every entrepreneur needs to master. While not always easy, the art of pitching can be learned which is why it’s a key part of the Converge business training programme.
“The calibre of the pitches was truly exceptional and I want to praise each and every semi-finalist for taking part.”
Converge is a high-profile pan-Scotland company creation and entrepreneurship development programme for staff, students, and recent graduates of Scottish universities and research institutes aimed at creating a new generation of entrepreneurs in Scotland. A critical element is the collaboration between all of the universities to provide support and guidance to applicants and close working relationships with others within the entrepreneurial ecosystem.