Enterprise funding

High growth firms share £1.25m from Scottish Edge

Theo Paphitis

Theo Paphitis: ‘never give up’ (pic: Terry Murden)

Businesses with high growth potential from across Scotland have shared £1.25 million in the latest Scottish EDGE pitching competition.

The two biggest recipients were medical technology firm Nebu-Flow and industry services company Paragon Inspection Services which were awarded £125,000 each as winners of the Higgs EDGE award for science, technology and engineering focused businesses.

University of Glasgow spin-out Nebu-Flow, founded by Elijah Nazarzadeh and Jon Cooper, has created a drug delivery treatment.

David Phin founded Dundee-based Paragon which has an inspection system used in industry to prevent any shutdown of plant. 

The total pot awarded through Scottish EDGE is about £15 million in the 15 rounds now completed.

Eighteen businesses took part in the latest finals at the Royal Bank of Scotland Conference Centre at Gogarburn, Edinburgh with more pitching in semi-finals and the Young EDGE and Wildcard EDGE competitions.


A further nine businesses had pitched at the Higgs EDGE final at RBS on 28 November and two other businesses were also awarded social enterprise EDGE awards of £25k and £40k.

Scottish EDGE is the UK’s biggest funding competition for potential high growth businesses. It supports Scotland’s most innovative, high-growth potential early stage businesses with up to £150,000 in cash and provides a business support package that includes mentoring, support and signposting to alternative finance. It is awarded as 40% grant and 60% loan which is paid back to help fellow entrepreneurs on their pathway to success.

The Scottish EDGE Pledge also asks recipients of its funding to pledge a minimum  of 1% of the funding they make if they successfully exit their business to back more entrepreneurs through the programme.

Sir Tom Hunter and Theo Paphitisi

Theo Paphitis with Sir Tom Hunter in conversation (pic: Terry Murden)

At the event, Theo Paphitis, entrepreneur and panelist on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den series, talked about his career in a conversation with fellow entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter, whose Hunter Foundation is one of the key supporters of Scottish EDGE. It is also backed by Royal Bank of Scotland, the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise.

Mr Paphitis, who recalled a lifetime of success, failure and comebacks, told 400 startup business owners: “Never give up on your dream. If you do, it is over.”

Hunter says Britain ‘needs more billionaires’

The main EDGE winners were:

Acu-Flow £125,000 (Higgs) A novel aerosol formation platform technology that enables efficient delivery of advanced medicines to the lungs

Bounce Back Drinks £50,000 – Scientifically-backed drinks for specific health challenges with the first product being the UK’s 1st fully compliant and clinically-tested After-Alcohol Revival Drink

The East Africa Sisal Company £60,000 – Use sisal, a sustainable fibre crop grown by small-scale farmers in East Africa, to create sustainable and novel materials. The main product being natural fibre insulation products

Hatch AI £60,000 – Creator of the Human+ platform that combines speech technology and natural language processing to transform productivity and client engagement across Legal and Financial services

HS Vision t/a HindSight £50,000 – Invented a new rear-view mirror tool allowing cyclists to be significantly more road aware

Intebloc £90,000 – Developing innovative, transformative solutions for more efficient, safer lifting for cranes

My Language Connection £35,000 – Help companies with international growth by translating their website and document copy

NAF! Stuff £100,000 – Vegan and Cruelty-Free Nail Care made by expert Nail Technicians

Paragon Inspection Solutions £125,000 (Higgs) – Developing a unique patented inspection system ‘Tru-Fit’ enabling fast, accurate inspection of small bore tubing systems used in Oil & Gas industry without any plant shutdown

Product Guru £50,000 – Web-based product discovery platform that makes it easier for retail buyers to find innovative challenger brands

Republic of Munchery t/a Wilsons Pet Food £50,000 – Manufactures premium dog food using human-grade ingredients to create premium Raw Frozen and Cold Pressed dog food

Shock Innovations £100,000 – Developed ThermaFY software which can analyse, in real-time, thermal images on your phone

Skillfluence £40,000 – Work with universities, innovation centres and research centres to design innovative programmes to support the development of scientists, researchers, academics and technical specialists

Teprac Fuels £100,000 –  Recycle 100% carpet waste into a renewable energy source – creating an alternative domestic fuel, the Teprac Briquette

Wild Card EDGE winners share a total of £75,000. This category is designed to boost pre-trading businesses on their start-up journey. The winners were:

Glasgow-based Seawater Solutions £15,000  – introducing sustainable farming practices which use seawater to grow salt-tolerant crops for environmental and climate resilience purposes (technology and engineering sector).

Glasgow-based Bonjour £10,000 – Scotland’s first club venue centred on the requirements of LGBTQ+, Black and Minority Ethnic (BME), women identifying and non-binary individuals (food and drink sector).

Glasgow-based Designed Forlife £10,000 – Sofa forLife – a circular economy and sustainably design sofa which reduces waste (manufacturing sector).

Edinburgh-based Eyesight Electronics £10,000 – has developed a patent-pending product for the diagnosis and therapy of Amblyopia (lazy eye) which affects 230 million children worldwide (technology and engineering sector).

Edinburgh-based IMERAI £10,000 – has developed an ultrasonic echolocation sensor that provides useful environmental data without identifying personal, recognisable features (technology and engineering sector).

Fife-based LIMITS Technology £10,000 – has developed a cycling power meter that enables the average cycling enthusiast to use the same technology as professional cyclists (technology and engineering sector).

Edinburgh-based Waterwhelm £10,000 – commercialising a patent-pending technology for self-powered treatment of wastewater- takes in sewage and turns it into freshwater, renewable energy and fertiliser (chemical sciences sector).

Young EDGE winners share a total of £75,000. This category is designed to help companies whose directors are all aged 18 to 30. The winners were:

Edinburgh-based S’wheat £15,000 – first reusable bottle made from entirely plant based materials (manufacturing sector).

Aberdeen-based ArchiLink £10,000 – a platform that makes the process of finding a designer much easier by creating a destination to source architectural services (construction sector).

Edinburgh-based Iain £10,000 – AI assistant designed for small e-commerce businesses using Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing to simplify the way users interact with business data (technology and engineering sector).

East Dunbartonshire-based Michael Youmans £10,000 – a new Scottish watch and lifestyle brand, influenced by Scotland’s heritage and culture, crafted from reclaimed whisky casks (creative industries sector).

Edinburgh-based RivalKit £10,000 – community-centric custom sports clubs clothing company using a  global network of manufacturers (textiles sector).

Edinburgh-based SageCity £10,000 – build tech tools for organisations. Its key product is Internal Payments System (IPS), a financial management tool that efficiently and smartly matches and settles transactions (technology and engineering sector).

Glasgow-based Streat Events £10,000 – online catering marketplace for street food and independent caterers (food and drink sector).

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