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Start-ups share £1m in latest EDGE pitching event

Kate Cameron with Jim McColl andE Evelyn Macdonald

Higgs winner Kate Cameron, founder of Cytochroma with Jim McColl and Evelyn McDonald


Fledgling businesses shared £1 million in funding from partner organisations following the latest Scottish EDGE pitching competition.

Twenty firms pitched their ideas live at Stirling’s Macrobert Arts Centre to a panel of business heavyweights made up of: Jim McColl of Clyde Blowers, Steve Dunlop of Scottish Enterprise, Simon Hannah of Filshill, Maeve McMahon of Royal Bank of Scotland and Carol Beattie of Stirling Council. 

Addressing the finalists, Sir Tom Hunter said:The businesses that come through EDGE grow faster with less risk because EDGE is not just about money, but the embedded support on offer.

“EDGE businesses are the lifeblood of the Scottish economy and we are delighted to support you as you grow and prosper – Scotland needs many more like you.” 

The Higgs EDGE Special Award of £150,000 was won by scientist, Dr Kate Cameron, who set up Cytochorma to address increasingly expensive yet less effective practices of drug discovery.

As the UK’s largest business funding competition, Scottish EDGE has awarded over £10m thus far and is given as a 40% grant and a 60% loan, with a maximum award of up to £150,000. The loan is paid back to help fellow entrepreneurs on their pathway to success. Both the Young EDGE and Wild Card EDGE awards are grants of up to £10,000.

Scottish EDGE CEO, Evelyn McDonald said: “Tonight’s ceremony signalled the end of an exciting and emotional four-month journey not just for this round’s finalists and winners, but also for us at Scottish EDGE.

“The welcome and support that we received from the people of Stirling during the competition’s first live final outside of Edinburgh was outstanding and the enthusiasm shown for our finalists was hugely encouraging.

“Our high achieving alumni of 293 previous Scottish EDGE winners thus far have generated an additional £104.22 million in turnover, secured £82.47 million in additional investment and created 1,381 jobs.” 

Gordon Merrylees, Head of Entrepreneurship for Royal Bank of Scotland said: “We are both delighted and extremely proud as a bank to have been a founding supporter of Scottish EDGE since its inception in 2014.”

The Scottish EDGE winners are:

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

Moray | Amount: £45,000 

Broker Insights  – 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. 

Dundee | Amount: £75,000 

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

Oban | Amount: £50,000 

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

Bishopton | Amount: £75,000

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

Dundee | Amount: £50,000

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

Edinburgh | Amount: £100,000

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

Paisley | Amount: £50,000

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.

Fife | Amount: £40,000 

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

Glasgow | Amount: £75,000 

Higgs EDGE winner:

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

Edinburgh | Amount: £150,000

Creative EDGE Winner:

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

Glasgow | Amount: £50,000

Young EDGE Winners:

404 Ink – 404 Ink is the multi-award winning independent publisher of books and literary magazines. Dubbed the ‘nasty women shaking up the book industry’, they were named the Emerging Publishers of the Year and #1 in the List Hot 100 for cultural influencers in 2017.

Edinburgh | Amount: £10,000

Fodilicious – An innovative food business based in Scotland providing the UK’s first gluten free and dairy free freshly prepared meal options which follow the low FODMAP diet – suitable for people who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other gut related illnesses.

Livingston | Amount: £10,000

Phox Water – Phox Water’s slogan ‘Drink Clean’ doesn’t only relate to the filtered water its product creates, it is a reminder that the water we consume has a carbon footprint. Phox’s product suite is designed to let people avoid bottled water and the harm it does to our environment.

Glasgow | Amount: £15,000

The Turing Trust – A social enterprise that is innovatively reusing ICTs to provide education and training in Scotland and rural African communities. By re-imagining the use of technology, The Turing Trust are pushing towards a Circular Economy, building capability at home and creating sustainable incomes and improved digital education access.

Edinburgh | Amount: £10,000

Tipsy Unicorn Sweets – Tipsy Unicorn Sweets prides itself on creating delicious sweets using all natural ingredients. Since launching the Rock Rose Gin and Tonic Jelly ranges, the business has struggled to keep up with demand. This has led to discussions with a third party about outsourcing production.

Nairn | Amount: £10,00

Token Zero – Token Zero is developing a remote environmental monitor for rental properties, in order to inform landlords and property managers of potentially damaging situations developing in their premises, allowing them to intervene early and save money.

Glasgow | Amount: £10,000

Udrafter – An on demand and real-time student recruitment platform where local businesses can post one off jobs to be completed by skilled students within hours, even minutes. Udrafter is Scotland’s first dedicated one-off student jobs platform that provides a wide range of different student skill sets, all in one friendly platform that saves businesses time and money.

Aberdeen | Amount: £10,000

WildCard EDGE winners were:

Alterwaste – A business which turns industrial waste by-products into new sustainable materials. Alterwaste’s first product is a fully compostable material made from industrial eggshell waste with the potential to replace plastic and other non-sustainable materials in a range of industries, from cosmetics to construction.

Edinburgh | Amount: £15,000

Farm-Hand – Builds flexible precision irrigation products that enable farmers to irrigate in a ‘right-volume, right-time’ approach in water-scarce regions. The company works for economic uplift, scare resource conservation, social cohesion and labour freedom in the agriculture space.

Longniddry | Amount: £10,000

Hearing Diagnostics – Hearing Diagnostics aims to develop more accurate hearing screening technology to enable early detection and diagnosis of hearing loss. The business’s technology combines the use of novel algorithms and research methods to ensure high accuracy and reliability of screening results.

Edinburgh | Amount: £10,000

Inrobin – Inrobin provides predictive maintenance and risk management solutions to industrial companies. Manufacturers can connect their industrial assets to Inrobin’s digital platform, which analyses the data and gives new insights, these insights serve to create a risk profile that results in lower insurance premiums.

Edinburgh | Amount: £10,000

Scrumptious Garden – This business turns underused urban land into attractive, productive, market gardens. Scrumptious Garden partners with city councils and housing associations, gaining free access to land that is otherwise a costly drain in return for creating beautiful and welcoming spaces.

Livingston | Amount: £10,000

SecondPerspective – An innovative rehabilitation product based company. Focusing on product development and user experience provided through SP’s product range. The first solution to be brought to market is an intelligent pressure cuff system employing blood flow restriction therapy for use in rehabilitation.

Edinburgh | Amount: £10,000

Thermoelectric Conversion Systems – Proposes a scalable clean-technology to fill the void in present cooling technologies and aims to target data-centre equipment suppliers to develop highly-efficient industry-leading technology. By employing thermoelectric-coolers driven by novel power converters, data-centre cooling efficiency can increase by 50%.

Glasgow | Amount: £10,000

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