Entrepreneurial UHI nursing student shortlisted for Converge KickStart Challenge

UHI department of nursing and midwifery student Roma Gibb from Evanton has been accepted to this year’s Converge KickStart Challenge for her plans to develop a novel device, the Bed Band, to support people with mobility issues.

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Roma Gibb, shortlisted for Converge KickStart Challenge 2022

Converge, Scotland’s largest company creation and enterprise programme for the university sector, supports aspiring entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas. Last month they published their shortlist of 101 projects across four ‘challenge’ categories – Converge, Create Change, Net Zero and KickStart – with all 18 Scottish universities represented in the shortlist.

Roma’s shortlisting with Converge is just the latest in a series of personal successes.  In 2020, she developed the Bed Band and founded Person Centred Solutions Ltd, which won the ‘Best Student Business’ award in UHI’s annual CREATE business competition.

More recently, Roma was awarded £30,000 through the UHI Health and Life Sciences Innovation fund, supported by the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal, to co-develop her technology alongside UHI experts. She also participated in this year’s Pathfinder Accelerator, a Highlands and Islands Enterprise initiative which helps entrepreneurs accelerate their businesses.

Many people with mobility limitations struggle to correct their position in bed, meaning if they slide over or down the bed, they remain uncomfortable until help arrives. This can be many hours later. The Bed Band is a novel device that allows people to remain in a comfortable position for the time they are in bed.

Roma said: “Being in the semi-finals of the Converge KickStart competition has been a very rewarding experience. I am thoroughly enjoying the business masterclasses and am looking forward to the next stage. I am very excited about my engagement with UHI and my collaboration with the UHI experts. This will significantly help the Bed Band be one step closer to the market.”

The Converge shortlisting allows Roma the chance to attend further entrepreneurial training and business masterclasses before submitting her business case and video pitch by 1 August for judging.

Twelve finalists from the KickStart category will progress to the final of this year’s competition, with the chance to win a top prize of £10,000 in equity-free cash to progress their business idea. Converge will announce all winners who will benefit from an overall prize fund of over £300,000 at an awards ceremony on 3 November.