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Help for promising firms

Fund supports 90 early stage firms hit by pandemic

Vicky Brock: ‘incredibly grateful’

Almost £25 million has been committed to 90 innovative, early-stage businesses in Scotland whose growth were threatened by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The awards have been made via the Early Stage Growth Challenge Fund, part of a £38m package of early-stage support announced by the Scottish Government in July.

The fund, managed by Scottish Enterprise (SE), was established to help Scotland’s most promising emerging businesses continue to innovate through the pandemic.

Among those supported is Edinburgh-based consumer protection software company Vistalworks whose CEO Vicky Brock said: “We’re incredibly grateful to the Scottish Investment Bank and the Scottish Government for their Early Stage Growth Challenge fund investment.

“This has been transformational at a point when the business was ready for acceleration. We’re already executing our plans and have taken on four new employees as a direct result, with more to follow.”

MIME Technologies, a med-tech spin-out from the University of Aberdeen, has received £248,000 that will support the heavily impacted aviation industry during its recovery from the pandemic. Other recipients include Dundee company Snappy Shopper, Glasgow-based space engineering company Craft Prospect and Lanarkshire-based biotechnology company ILC Therapeutics.

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Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The energy and ideas of Scotland’s entrepreneurs and innovators have always fuelled the nation’s economic growth, creating high-value jobs and accelerating international investment in Scotland.

“However, we recognise that these businesses are not immune to the impact of the pandemic. Many are facing a challenging investment market which restricts their ability to grow, innovate and compete internationally.

“Our investment of £38 million will provide young and innovative businesses in some of our most exciting emerging sectors, such as life sciences, digital technologies and space, with the most comprehensive and generous support available anywhere in the UK.”

Scottish Enterprise Interim CEO Linda Hanna said: “There was concern among Scotland’s early-stage ecosystem that the coronavirus pandemic would cause investment levels to reduce dramatically, potentially wiping out a generation of Scotland’s up-and-coming businesses.

“The creation of the early-stage support package, developed by Scottish Enterprise on behalf of the Scottish Government, has proved to be an important intervention.

“Through the Early Stage Growth Challenge Fund, we’ve been able to provide several of Scotland’s most pioneering young companies with the financial support necessary to overcome obstacles to growth created by covid-19.”

In addition to the Early Stage Growth Challenge Fund, the early-stage support programme comprised £3m for pre-seed start-up companies and spin-out projects, and £10m for SE’s existing co-investment funds.



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