Scottish Edge gives record £1.8m injection for ambitious start-ups

Winners of the 13th round of the Scottish Edge contest. Picture: Sandy Young PhotographyWinners of the 13th round of the Scottish Edge contest. Picture: Sandy Young Photography
Winners of the 13th round of the Scottish Edge contest. Picture: Sandy Young Photography
A competition that provides grants to accelerate growth in Scotland's start-ups has awarded a record £1.8 million to two dozen promising businesses.

The winners of the 13th round of the Scottish Edge contest were confirmed yesterday with Edinburgh charity Turing Trust taking home the newly introduced Social Edge Award.

Scottish Edge recently announced a £1m funding increase from Scottish Enterprise and 24 fledgling businesses have now reaped the benefits with each taking home up to a six-figure share of the bumper prize pot.

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Meanwhile, £200,000 has been set aside for two additional prizes of £100,000 each, which will be awarded in March to existing Edge winners seeking funding to scale-up or grow rapidly globally.

The winning businesses came from 39 finalists which pitched their business ideas to an expert panel of judges, chaired by Simon Hannah of Filshill and Kerry Sharp of the Scottish Investment Bank.

Among the recipients was Glasgow-based Raven, a software brand whose technology has been used at the Ryder Cup and 2018 European Championships. The firm, which scooped £65,000, plans to grow and develop its team by hiring a further two developers to work on its safety and security software, as well as boost the headcount in its sales and marketing teams.

The newly introduced social award of £100,000, which is supported by the Postcode Innovation Trust, was won the Turing Trust, a registered charity that reuses computers to help bring digital education opportunities to African schools.

Evelyn McDonald, Scottish Edge chief executive, said: “Congratulations to the inspirational winners and also to our runners up who worked exceptionally hard to get this far. We welcome the entrepreneurs awarded to our high achieving alumni of 313 previous Scottish Edge winners who thus far have generated an additional £131.3m in turnover, secured £108.3m in additional investment and created 1,652 jobs.”

Sir Tom Hunter, the Scots entrepreneur and supporter of Scottish Edge, said: “Scotland has a proud heritage of innovation and through Edge we’re seeing a renewed spirit of entrepreneurship developing.

“I’m continually encouraged by the ambition and ingenuity that we see presented on the Edge stage in a day and age where an original idea is increasingly difficult to come by.”

Gordon Merrylees, head of entrepreneurship for Royal Bank of Scotland, which hosted the event, added: “We are both delighted and extremely proud as a bank to have been a founding supporter of Scottish Edge since its inception in 2014 and a key funder for almost four years as part of our overall desire to help Scottish entrepreneurs start, scale and succeed. Congratulations to all of the 39 finalists for making it through.”