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City to host pitching final

EDGE gives nod to Stirling’s innovation ambitions

Stuart Carruth

Stewart Carruth: ‘exciting opportunities’ (photo by Terry Murden)

Stirling’s emergence as a centre for innovative technology companies has been recognised by one of the country’s biggest funding competitions.

Sccottish EDGE will move its annual finale to the city and out of its Edinburgh home for the first time since its inception in 2013.

Twenty businesses will pitch for a slice of a £1 million at the Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling, on 29 May.

Located at the heart of the university, the Macrobert Arts Centre, in partnership with Stirling Council, University of Stirling and Forth Valley College, will host more than 600 expected delegates for a day of live business pitching, keynote speakers and business support exhibitors.

The 12th round of Scottish EDGE kicked-off in early February, attracting 250 business applications from across the country. During an intensive three-day long semi-final, 57 shortlisted entrepreneurs pitched their businesses to a collective panel of 15 judges.

The finalists emerged as the most innovative with potential to scale and will now pitch to a panel of business heavyweights, chaired by Jim McColl of Clyde Blowers.

Other judge include Steve Dunlop, incoming chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, Simon Hannah of Fishill, Maeve McMahon of Royal Bank of Scotland and Carol Beattie of Stirling Council.

Awards of up tot £150,000 in cash available and a business support package from the Scottish EDGE partners are on offer.

Scottish EDGE – which is supported by the Royal Bank of Scotland, the Hunter Foundation, and the Scottish Government – has been a springboard to almost 300 businesses. TV Squared, Uuni, Appointedd, Beauty Kitchen, Trtl and Robotical are just some of the companies to come through Scottish EDGE in recent years.

Past winners have, to date, created 2,660 Scottish jobs, generated £79.78m in turnover, and received additional investment of £67.44m. In the last round of Scottish EDGE, cash prizes of £1.07 million were shared amongst 38 winners across three categories.

Scottish EDGE CEO, Evelyn McDonald, said: “For us, Stirling is the perfect location for EDGE’s first venture away from its native Edinburgh venue.

“The city’s pro-business attitude and fast progression towards being a centre of excellence in startup innovation, aligns perfectly with our agenda to attract and support the best entrepreneurial talent Scotland has to offer.

“With businesses from CodeBase Stirling and University of Stirling’s Sporting Chance Initiative occupying finalist and winner places in the past three Scottish EDGE Finals, it has been impossible for us to ignore the quality of startup business that Stirling is producing.

“We’re looking forward to experiencing firsthand that highly driven entrepreneurial culture.” 

Julie Ellen, artistic director at Macrobert Arts Centre, said: “We believe that by holding the Scottish EDGE in an arts environment, participants will see the value of cross-sectoral working and how it can encourage creative flair in a commercial context.”

Stewart Carruth, chief executive of Stirling Council, described the staging of the event in the city as “an exciting opportunity for Stirling to welcome so many innovative start-ups and growing businesses.”

He said: “Stirling is home to so many brilliant entrepreneurs and we are passionate about creating an environment for business and innovation to thrive.

“University of Stirling’s Innovation Park and world-class research facilities, along with over 750 courses offered at Forth Valley College, produces some of the highest quality graduates in the country.” 

Full list of finalists:

ARX Maritime (ARX Defence Ltd) – Designs and develops cutting-edge solutions and hardware to the forefront of maritime operations – its core product is an anti-piracy barrier called ABaC.

Aurora Sustainability Ltd – Sets up demonstrative Circular Economy Biorefinery in clusters for social, private and public organisations, offering mentoring and trainings on the CE business model.

Broker Insights Ltd – A platform that provides insurers with powerful search capabilities to direct their sales resources to the right brokers, at the right time, for the right business.

Carbogenics Ltd – Produces the carbon-based additive CreChar(R) for anaerobic digestion (AD), helping enhance the microbial activity in their AD plants.

Cearban Ltd – An adventure wildlife tourism business, offering transformational experiences, such as swimming with basking sharks around the Inner Hebrides.

Citizen Ticket – An ethically driven event ticketing platform that links tickets to Blockchain to give event organisers a new layer of transparency and protection from ticket touts.

Curious Chip Ltd – Creator of Pip – a handheld computer that combines programmability, expandability and high-performance graphics into a portable, attractive and easy-to-use package.

Cytochroma – Combines state of the art, automated technology and pioneering science to generate stem cell derived liver cells that model human physiology.

Guy & Beard Ltd – High quality barber shops made out of converted shipping containers in convenient locations, with free parking and affordable prices.

Just Venue Holding Ltd – An online platform that aims to socialise event space booking, by connecting event hosts and organizers with space owners and managers.

McCormack Innovation – Creator of FlushAway™ Stool Collector, which seeks to dramatically increase the diagnosis of Bowel or Colorectal cancers due to its sanitary benefits using soluble materials.

MiAlgae Ltd – Developed a novel algae production to harvest Omega 3 oils from micro-algae grown on waste water.

Novosound – Sells novel, printed, ultrasound sensors to the industrial inspection, medical imaging and dental imaging markets. 

RAB Microfluidics – Developed cutting-edge microfluidic ‘Lab-on-a-chip’ technology that delivers OCM analysis a 1000x faster and 10x cheaper than the current approaches.

Spark and Rocket Ltd t/a SoundBops – Developed Soundbops –  a music educational platform of hardware and software that enables children to create, learn, play and love music. 

SpeyCardio Ltd – Medical life-sciences company undertaking the design, development and commercialisation of the SpeyCardio Lifestyle Defibrillator™.

Sustain (Scotland) Ltd – Sale of innovativeUK patented kitchen handle fitting tool for use by kitchen fitters and DIY enthusiasts.

The Little Herb Farm – A fine food manufacturing business creating a range of sweet fruit vinegars using mainly its own herbs and a range of chilled dips. 

The Start-up Drinks Lab Ltd – Provide manufacturing, packaging and storage solutions for small-medium sized soft drink companies for everything from “concept to shelf”.

Veloeye Ltd – Offering a bike registration system which comprises of a tamper resistant QR label and a free smartphone app.

Investment for entrepreneurs

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a further £650,000 package of support for  Entrepreneurial Scotland.

Speaking at the first Scotland CAN DO festival at Barras Art and Design in Glasgow, she repeated her recent comments at the SCDI Forum about driving innovation.

We want Scotland to be a country that is at the forefront of social and technological progress – to invent, design and manufacture the technologies and products of the future – not simply to consume them. And we want to do all of that in a way which benefits all of society,” she said.

“That’s why, in recent years, we’ve placed a heavy emphasis on encouraging more people to be entrepreneurs – to set up new businesses and social enterprises and for the government itself to be more entrepreneurial.

“With partners from across all sectors we have championed this vision through Scotland CAN DO.  It is a platform for us all – across all sectors – to sharpen our focus on enabling sustainable economic growth and to deliver a Scotland that is a CAN DO place for business.”

Sandy Kennedy, chief executive of Entrepreneurial Scotland, said: “This investment is not only an endorsement of the progress made by Entrepreneurial Scotland over the past four years, it backs the delivery of the next phase of our strategy which will be published next week. 

“We in turn have committed to reinvest Scottish Government’s support back into the entrepreneurial ecosystem over time.”

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