Entrepreneurs bid for help

Scots selected for Duke’s Palace boot camp

Duke of YorkTwo Scottish entrepreneurial businesses were among those which presented at this week’s Pitch at the Palace event backed by the Duke of York.

Gusto Artisan Foods and IQ Chocolate attended the event which aims to connect entrepreneurs with potential supporters including chief executives, angels, mentors and key business partners. Ten companies presented at the London boot camp on Monday.

Launched in 2012 by Rachael Cousins and Steven Nisbet, Gusto’s handmade dressings, infused oils, bespoke balsamics and condiments earned it a BBC Good Food Show nomination as an “exceptional British producer” in 2012. It also won a Great Taste Gold Award in 2013.

The pair use Scottish ingredients and suppliers whenever possible and say they aim to support and explore the wealth of indigenous species native to Scotland.

Ms Cousins said: “To be selected as one of only 12 British food & drink companies to attend Pitch@Palace 4, at St James Palace is such an accolade, especially being one of only two Scottish companies invited.

“The prestige, kudos and credibility attached to being supported by The Duke of York and his office has been a real boost to our confidence, already opened doors and we can’t thank both them and Scotland Food and Drink enough for alerting us to this incredible opportunity.”

Pitch@Palace takes place twice a year at St. James’s Palace and between 12 and 15 UK Entrepreneurs pitch to an audience of around 300 potential supporters.

The Duke, who carries the title Earl of Inverness in Scotland, attended a regional pitch at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, organised with Informatics Ventures in September.

More than 20 start-up and early stage businesses gave presentations to a panel of judges in a bid to secure a place at this week’s boot camp.

“What started out as something small and manageable is grown enormously and this year we have expanded the pitch,” the Earl told those attending.

Photo: Duke of York at the Dynamic Earth event

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