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Young companies the ‘lifeblood of the Scottish economy’

Tom Hunter at Scottish Edge

Almost £1million was last night handed to young businesses who were described as “the lifeblood of the Scottish economy”.

Entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter (left), who presented cash prizes to 16 firms, told 300 guests at the Scottish Edge Final that the finalists were the embodiment of what the competition was about.

He and other partners in the scheme had “wanted to create change in Scotland.”

He said: “Therefore I felt proud today because I saw that things have changed. I saw that people are doing things differently and have got out of the comfort zone.

“What is great about Scotland is that it is small enough to get people in a room and knock heads together to make things happen. Scottish Edge came out of somebody not accepting the status quo.”

The founder of Entrepreneurial Spark, Jim Duffy approached Finance Secretary John Swinney while Sir Tom spoke to the chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland Ross McEwan “and they both said that they should just get on with it,” said Sir Tom.

Congratulating all 26 finalists in the competition run jointly by Royal Bank of Scotland, the Scottish government and the Hunter Foundation, he said: “You are the nothing less than the lifeblood of the Scottish economy.

“There has never been a better time to start a business. There are great people rooting for you.”

Three companies received the maximum funding they requested. A soft furnishings company, an artisan dairy and the manufacturer of a device to help stop hospital infections were also among the 16 companies who received awards from 26 pitches.

The Scottish government is providing about £3.5m, RBS £2.5m and the Hunter Foundation £750,000 over three years.

Carol GrahamThe money is half grant, half loan and the maximum paid was £100, 000 to Freedom One Life and Carbon Black, both designers of wheelchairs, while energy efficiency company CLDB also received the full amount.

Gordon Merrylees, who runs RBS’s entrepreneurial programmes, revealed that £1.95 million had been handed over to businesses in the last two rounds of ScottishEdge, including £900,000 on Friday to the 16 main winners.   A further £75,000 was awarded to 11 Young EDGE (founders under 30 years old) winners and £100,000 to 11 Wild Card EDGE (early stage businesses) winners.

Evelyn McDonald, chief executive of Scottish Edge, revealed that previous winners had created 311 jobs, increased turnover by £13.9m and had attracted £10.6m in further funding. The judging panel consisted of Scottish EDGE chairman David Shearer; Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s director of regional development Carroll Buxton; Carol Graham of Graham’s Family Dairy (above); Royal Bank of Scotland HR chief Elaine Arden; and David Sneddon of Scottish Equity Partnership.

James WattSir Tom presented the cash prizes at a ceremony at the RBS headquarters at Gogarburn. BrewDog co-founder James Watt (left) delivered the keynote speech, preferring to sit cross-legged at the edge of the stage and drink beer.

He spoke about the company’s controversial “equity for punks” crowdfunding scheme that was as much about involving the customer in the company as it was about raising the money.

Scottish Edge involves a number of partner organisations including Business Gateway, Entrepreneurial Scotland, Adopt and Intern and the Prince’s Trust.

Main prize winners

·       £45k – Beer52.com – the UK’s no. 1 craft beer club which links small craft breweries with craft beer fans across the UK.

·       £100k – Carbon Black System – provides customers with high-tech custom built stylish carbon fibre wheelchairs.

·       £50k – CLDB – provides off-site manufactured, cost effective , low energy building using natural materials.

·       £100k – Freedom One Life –  designs and manufactures a new generation of power wheelchairs.

·       £30k – Geek Retreat – a comic book store and gaming café

·       £75k – Helson and Jackets – 3D 360 degree video display, that creates full moving video objects that appear to float in space

·       £40k – Hidden Armada – a start-up which is currently developing a PC game called Mutiny, where your phone becomes your controller

·       £50k – Ibisvision – developer of “RingOfSight”,  a revolutionary software based system for  diagnosis  of glaucoma

·       £50k – Katy Rodger’s Artisan Dairy – produces a range of dairy products including Ice cream and yogurt from their family farm

·       £65k – Medicen Devise – developer of a new medical sterilised catheter device called “Steriderm”

·       £40k – Nutrifiz – the world’s first effervescent wheatgrass tablet

·       £30k – Orwell and Goode – a lifestyle brand headed by Bronagh O’Kane and Zuzana Gibb who have created innovative textile based products including cushions and wallpaper

·       £65k – RiCo Developments now rebranded as Adimo – an app which allows brands to add promotional products to their customer’s online supermarket basket.

·       £50k – Shot Scope Technologies – wearable technology that automatically collects scoring and statistical data for golfers.

·       £50k – The Wee Tea Plantation – Scotland’s only tea plantation which counts Kensington Palace, Fortnum & Mason and the Balmoral Hotel as customers. It is based in Perthshire by Tam O’Braan and the teas were voted best in the world by the Salon de The au Paris in April this year.

·       £65k – VH Innovation – designed the “Recoil Kneepad” – new more comfortable and protective kneepad developed by product designer Victoria Hamilton in response to her father’s discomfort with existing pads.

 

 

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