Martina takes home entrepreneurial spirit award

Edinburgh Napier graduate takes home £1,000

Date posted

21 September 2018


Last updated

19 March 2020

An Edinburgh Napier graduate who is developing new packaging material made from industrial waste by-products has scooped a top entrepreneurial award.

Martina Zupan – founder of Alterwaste – was one of three inspiring young entrepreneurs to be selected by their peers to win an Entrepreneurial Spirt Award at last night’s (21 September 2018) Converge Challenge.

Taking home a £1,000 cash prize, Martina will use the money to continue her entrepreneurial journey as she looks to further build on her success so far.

Alterwaste is a sustainable material development business that adds value to industrial waste by-products. Its mission is to make the world greener by reducing waste that is generated on an industrial scale and turning it into something that the environment can benefit from.

Martina – a Product Design graduate from Edinburgh Napier – has already developed a brand-new biodegradable and compostable eggshell material and is currently progressing plans for sustainable packaging that will help tackle the ongoing problem of plastic pollution.

Her pioneering work, supported through the University’s Bright Red Triangle, has seen her awarded funding for two years in a row at the Scottish EDGE awards. She also scooped a £2,000 prize at the University’s Bright Red Sparks awards, named as winner in the Business for Good category.

Martina has continued to pave the way for low-carbon innovation after Alterwaste was accepted into the Climate-KIC Accelerator scheme.

Dr Olga Kozlova, Director of Converge Challenge, said: “Congratulations to all this year’s winners and finalists. It is impressive how much they have progressed in just a few short months and we are looking forward to supporting them during the coming year and seeing their businesses thrive. This year has been particularly exciting for me due to our record female participation with 35% of entrants, 60% of our finalists and 70% of winners this year being women led or co-founded businesses. This has been a personal cause of mine to see many more women entrepreneurs coming forward.”

Converge Challenge is Scotland’s leading company creation competition and entrepreneurial development programme for staff, students and recent graduates of Scottish Universities and Research Institutes. Converge Challenge represents all of Scotland’s Universities and Research Institutes, demonstrating a strong collaborative enterprise agenda in Scotland. The programme has trained 210 company founders and 150 early stage and social entrepreneurs. Collectively, Converge Alumni have created 121 companies and have jointly raised over £79 million.

88% of these companies survive beyond 3 years.

A full list of all the winners can be found here.

Where are they now?