Main Menu

As Scots firms join LSE list...

Mara Seaweed gets a little help from Tesco’s incubator

Fiona Houston, Mara Seaweed

Fiona Houston: ‘game-changer’


Mara Seaweed is just one of six UK food and drink brands, and the only one from Scotland, to be included in Tesco’s 2019 Incubator Programme, described the Edinburgh-based company’s co-founder as a ‘game-changer’.

Over the past two years, 28 suppliers have participated in the programme, with brands such as Brewdog, Fevertree and Graze going on to become household names.

Once selected, each brand completes a comprehensive year-long programme that includes advice and guidance on marketing products effectively, responding to Tesco customer insight, as well as tips and mentorship from Tesco’s product team.

Mara Seaweed was established in 2013 by Fiona Houston and Xa Milne who first met in 2003 and discovered a shared love of seaweed foraging.

Mara began to sustainably wild harvest under a Crown Estate licence in Scotland, and Mara (Gaelic for sea) Seaweed was born. The company now has eight people and the UK’s first sea-to-shelf production facility in Edinburgh. 

Ms Houston said: “To have been accepted onto the Incubator programme is a game-changer for Mara. It will allow us to learn from industry leaders and develop our brand and long-term partnership with the UK’s biggest retailer. It has been an unbelievably hard six years.”

A Tesco spokesperson added: “It is great to have a really innovative Scottish brand participating in this years programme. Mara Seaweed won us over with their ethos and unique approach to healthy eating.  With two-thirds of customers looking for supermarkets to support them to live healthier lives, it’s never been more important for Tesco to offer products that reflect the latest health and wellness trends.”

Inspirational companies

A range of Scotland’s oldest and more recent brands feature in the sixth edition of 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain, launched by the London Stock Exchange.

Among the 38 from north of the border is the independent bottler and distiller of Scotch Whisky, Gordon & MacPhail, founded in 1895 and the brewing business BrewDog, established in 2007.

The report identifies the UK’s most dynamic and fastest-growing SMEs. More than two-thirds of the companies appear in the report for the first time, while six are making their fifth consecutive appearance. Overall average annual revenue growth of the 1,000 UK companies featured in the report was 108%, against 70% in 2018.

Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: “Small businesses not only generate over 50% of all private sector turnover in the UK, they also account for 60% of all UK private sector employment. SMEs are the backbone of the UK economy and we are dedicated to supporting these high growth companies to achieve their potential. I congratulate all the companies that are included in this year’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain report.”

Scottish companies in the LSE list, featured by turnover:


200- 250: Advance Construction Group

100-150: Angus Soft FruitsBrewdog,  Munro Healthcare Group,  Marine Harvest (now known as Mowi)

75-100: Ian Macleod Distillers

50-75:   Aquascot

40-50:   DR Collin & Son, GL Damcek

30-40:   Specialist Waste Recycling, Speymalt Whisky Distributors, Gordon & MacPhail

20-30:  AstrakInnis & Gunn,  ECS Security, Craig of Campbeltown

10-20: Axis Productions,  Dow Group,  Fresh Food Company, Manorview Hotels, Miller Fabrications, Osprey Aviation Services, Pryme Group, Ram Tubulars Scotland, Signature Pubs, TP Niven, Bennett’sCity Gate Construction, Kiltane Retail, Laing’s,  Moorburn IndustriesWester Ross Fisheries

6 -10:  A&D Logistics Holdings , Artisanal Spirits Company, Whitefield Nursing Home, DJ Alexander,  Lorimer Care Homes, Gap Vehicle Hire

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked as *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.