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Extra prize for growth firms

Higgs gives name to new EDGE award

Prof Peter HiggsScottish EDGE, which supports early stage companies, has unveiled a new category of funding support in honour of Nobel Prize winner Professor Peter Higgs.

A further £625,000 of funding which will be used to back Scotland’s most promising early stage science, technology and engineering businesses.

Higgs EDGE has been created following a £500,000 donation from an anonymous Scottish tech entrepreneur, the first 25% of which will be matched by £125,000 from the Scottish Government.

The Higgs EDGE Award is a special technology prize aimed at entrepreneurs who have an engineering, science or technology based business and have a product, or product under development, which is scalable and capable of globalisation.

Altogether £250,000 in prizes will be awarded in the next round of the Scottish EDGE competition – a top prize of £125,000, a second prize of £75,000 and a third prize of £50,000.  All prizes will be 50:50 loan and grant.

Winners will not only benefit from funding but will be offered mentoring and technology entrepreneurship masterclasses. The winner of the top prize will also automatically gain a one year membership to Entrepreneurial Scotland.

Commenting, Prof Higgs said; “I am very happy to have my name associated with this award particularly where it will enable people in Scotland with innovative ideas to realise their potential.”

Ten businesses will be selected to pitch for the three prizes. Businesses which do not win the award may be selected to pitch at the core Scottish EDGE Final by the Higgs EDGE Award judges.  Hamid Guedroudj of Petroleum Experts will chair the independent judging panel which will comprise entrepreneurs and investors working in the science, technology or engineering sectors.

Scottish EDGE chairman David Shearer said: “Scottish EDGE is already investing nearly £1 million per round of the competition in Scottish businesses which hope to make a major contribution to Scotland’s economy.

“We are delighted that we now have a specific fund available to support science technology and engineering businesses which have the potential to be global players.  We look forward to uncovering and supporting some very exciting businesses, and putting them on the fast track to growth through funding and support.”

John Swinney, Finance Secretary, said; “Through the Scotland CAN DO framework we have set out the priority areas where we will act with partners in the public, private and third sectors to help Scotland become a world-leading entrepreneurial and innovative nation.

“This requires that we think big and push at the boundaries of our imaginations.  Professor Peter Higgs did just that with his ground-breaking discoveries in the world of subatomic physics – discoveries that led to him being awarded the Nobel Prize.

“It is therefore fitting that he should give his name to new category of the Scottish EDGE awards which will encourage the development of businesses that build on scientific and technological innovations. I trust that it will inspire yet more of Scotland’s people to explore the huge possibilities of entrepreneurship.”

Scottish EDGE runs twice a year and aims to identify and support Scotland’s top, innovative, early stage and high growth potential entrepreneurs.  The competition attracts around 250 hopeful applicants for each round. Most of the funding is from private sources.

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