Scottish Edge has awarded more than £1 million to Scottish start-ups, including a sustainable wooden handbag producer and a Glasgow teenager who founded his business while battling cancer.
The funding competition, which describes itself as the UK’s largest, distributed the funds during the Scottish Edge Round 14 awards at the RBS Conference Centre in Gogarburn last night.
Each of the winners took home an up to six-figure share of the prize pot and will receive a package of support from Scottish Edge’s partner organisations to help them grow their businesses.
The triumphant start-ups had previously pitched their business ideas to two high-profile panels, chaired by Margaret Gibson of EY Foundation and Simon Hannah of Filshill, at events in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The newly introduced Circular Economy prize, supported by Zero Waste Scotland, was claimed by Hamish Menzies of Rocio, a fashion brand which manufactures and sells premium wooden handbags using sustainable wood and fair-trade manufacturing methods.
Roccio has gained traction from celebrity influencers such as Kate Upton and Amelia Warner.
18-year-old Suhit Amin became the youngest winner in the Young Edge category. The sixth-year student founded his now six-figure turnover influencer marketing agency Saulderson Media while undergoing chemotherapy for Stage 2A Hodgkin's Lymphoma, from which he has been in remission since September 2018.
Peter Orrell scooped the Higgs Edge Special Award of £125,000 for MycoNourish, which seeks to enhance crop production and add value for growers by harnessing the power of beneficial microbes.
Meanwhile the highest prize in the Scottish Edge category of £100,000 was given to former heads of missions and spacecraft design at Clyde Space, Kevin Quillien and Allan Cannon, who founded internet of things infrastructure firm R3-IOT.
Colin Loveday of community interest company Good Call, which aims to remove the mobile communications barriers facing charities, social enterprises and community groups, took home the Social Enterprise crown.
Scottish Edge has now awarded more than £14m, with prizes awarded as a 40 per cent grant and a 60 per cent loan.
Addressing the guests, entrepreneur and Scottish Edge supporter 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.”
Scottish Edge chief executive Evelyn McDonald said: “Tonight’s ceremony offers great encouragement as a snapshot of the current state of entrepreneurship in Scotland.
"The vast array of exciting businesses that our panels have chosen to support, from celebrity endorsed sustainable handbags and ground-breaking cancer treatments to teenager founded marketing agencies and bagpiper illness preventers, Scotland really does offer the kind of outside-the-box entrepreneurial thinking needed to achieve recognition in a global market."
She added that the 350 previous winners have generated an additional £151 million in turnover and created 1,858 jobs.