In depth: Scottish Edge unveils 38 'bold, brave and brilliant' winners set to share £1.5m prize pot
The group of 38 Scottish businesses earmarked as having high-growth potential have been recognised by the 22nd round of the Awards, which have taken place for the first time in Glasgow since 2019, and attended by Simon Hannah in his first official engagement as chair of the organisation, (complementing his role as chief executive of historic Scottish wholesaler JW Filshill), and Mark Scott, boss of petfood brand and 2017 Scottish Edge winner Bella & Duke.
Scottish Edge, which is delivered twice a year and is backed by Sir Tom’s The Hunter Foundation, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise, says it has a “key role to play in facilitating the nation’s economic growth”, having to date supported about 570 early-stage firms north of the Border with more than £23m in award funding, and helped generate nearly 3,300 jobs. Winners over the years have included high-profile Scottish businesses Appointedd, Amiqus, TVSquared, Ooni and Current Health, and in May of this year it announced the 24 businesses that would be sharing £1.4m after being named winners in its 21st round.
Its latest, 22nd, round has seen the introduction of the new Scottish Government-backed £100,000 Pathways Award, to support an ambitious female entrepreneur, which was presented to Evonne Morrison of Shetland-based probiotic fermented sauerkraut company Good Nude Food.
Two more big winners of the evening were Brose Oats, which triumphed in the Food and Drink Category, a new award sponsored by Food & Drink Scotland, and Conneckt Charging, an EV charging network that came top in the Net Zero category, supported by awards host RBS. Both winners took home a prize worth £100,000, while Gloriah, a company manufacturing sustainable intimate care products for women experiencing menopause, won a prize worth £80,000 in the Zero Waste Scotland-supported Circular Economy category.
Sustainability is also a theme for Oir Soap, which creates luxury products using natural ingredients, and won £65,000 alongside the STV Award of £75,000 of advertising airtime. Biotech start-up Prozymi Biolabs won the £65,000 IBioIC award to further its quest to revolutionise the gluten-free market, while Edinburgh Open Workshop, which offers affordable and flexible access to workshop machinery and tools, was awarded £75,000 in the Social Enterprise category, which is supported by The Postcode Innovation Trust.
The Young Edge and Wildcard categories returned for the awards’ 22nd round, with the first of these supporting companies whose managing directors are aged under 30, and the second providing a grant to pre-trading businesses that need support to bring their products to market. Winners of this year’s Young Edge award ranged from Selki Store, which provides heat packs to people suffering from chronic pain, to confectionery companies Tabrifics and Chocolatia, which received the £15,000 Harper Macleod and Scottish Enterprise top Young Edge awards respectively.
Additionally, wildcard winners included Claymore Surgical, which is developing a software platform to automate the diagnosis of childhood sleep apnoea, and Practest, which is aiming to revolutionise GPs’ communication with patients. Others recognised on the 38-strong list include Jack’s Alt-Stays, a “one-of-a-kind” cabin accommodation concept on Millport, powered by renewable energy, that was awarded £90,000; Glasgow’s Nami Surgical, which has developed a miniaturised ultrasonic scalpel for robotic assisted surgery and has been given a £80,000 boost; and Edinburgh’s 2B Jumps that is behind what is billed as an innovative and safer showjump design, and has won £10,000.
Sir Tom Hunter, who is also behind his own entrepreneur-fostering ScaleupScotland2.0 initiative, said: “Bold, brave and brilliant – those are the characteristics of Scottish Edge winners. All the evidence points to Scotland needing far more of these businesses. Edge is a brilliant supporter of high-growth business – and I’m sure could do a lot more for Scotland’s economy with the right government support.”
Judith Cruickshank, MD of commercial mid market at RBS, also commented: “The Scottish Edge awards continue to showcase the remarkable innovative talent present within Scotland’s entrepreneurial community. Helping businesses to scale and succeed is core to our principles, which is why we're so proud to continue our support for the Scottish Edge awards. We'd like to congratulate all those businesses who were awarded funding at [the latest] awards, and we can't wait to see their progress in the coming months. As supporters of the Net Zero category, we'd like to extend special congratulations to Connekt Charging. Their work in creating an extensive and reliable charging network has the potential to be transformational."
Jane Martin, managing director of innovation and investment at Scottish Enterprise, said: “We’re pleased to continue our support for the Young Edge category, which was once again a highly competitive field. Scottish Edge has an important role to play within Scotland’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. By supporting innovative, high-growth-potential start-ups, together we can drive Scotland’s future economic prosperity and create purposeful, scaling companies of the future.”
And Evelyn McDonald, chief executive of Scottish Edge, said: “As businesses across Scotland find themselves facing challenging circumstances, there’s never been a more urgent need to drive creativity and innovation. The winners of the 22nd round of Scottish Edge are testament to the incredible potential within Scotland’s start-up landscape. The addition of further awards this round, both Pathways and Food and Drink, has allowed us to reward more businesses, and alongside our partner organisations we continue our commitment to help Scottish businesses not just survive, but to thrive.”
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