Scottish Edge scale-up prize fund wins extra £1m

A competition that provides grants to accelerate growth in Scotland's start-ups has been awarded a seven-figure sum allowing it to expand.

L to R: Bounce Back Drinks Vandana Pillai and Dhruv Trivedi with Evelyn McDonald, chief executive of Scottish Edge. Picture: Sandy Young

Scottish Edge has secured an additional £1 million from Scottish Enterprise to grow its competition, leading to an increased number of businesses attending the final and an additional day of pitching for finalists.

Scottish Edge, which is supported by the Royal Bank of Scotland, The Hunter Foundation and the Scottish Government, has awarded upwards of £11m to Scotland’s entrepreneurs, with a winner roster of 300 businesses who in turn have generated £104m of additional turnover and created more than 1,300 jobs.

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The final will see 39 start-ups, chosen from the 62 which took part in the three-day long semi-final earlier this month, pitch for a share in the fund’s increased prize pot of almost £2m to help them scale up.

The panel of judges will be chaired by Simon Hannah of wholesaler Filshill and Kerry Sharp of the Scottish Investment Bank, Scottish Enterprise’s investment arm, at the final on 5 and 6 December in Edinburgh.

Around half of the finalists will be awarded a share of the prize pot, including awards ranging up to £150,000 in the Scottish, Higgs, Creative and Social Enterprise categories.

Linda Hanna, MD of Scottish economic development at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Ambitious entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of every economy as they create and grow the businesses that sustain economic growth.

“Scottish Edge attracts some of the most exciting Scottish entrepreneurial talent to pitch, and that’s why we’re collaborating with them and offering an additional £1m in funding. With this funding, we can double the number of businesses Scottish Edge supports and help drive Scotland’s future economic prosperity.”

Contenders include anti-hangover beverage producer Bounce Back Drinks, water filtration system Clean Water Wave and animators Animation Garden.

December’s event will mark the 13th cohort since Scottish Edge was launched in 2013, with past winners including TV Squared, Appointedd, Care Sourcer and Brewgooder.

The winners of Young Edge, a sub-category for entrepreneurs under the age of 30, and Wild Card Edge, for businesses who have yet to commence trading, will also be announced. Both offer grants of up to £15,000.

Scottish Edge chief executive Evelyn McDonald said: “When launching this latest round of Scottish Edge we gave it the title ‘Lucky 13’ and that has certainly been the case.

“The calibre of businesses we’ve seen enter has been exceptional and the ever-increasing appetite we have observed for what we offer to Scotland’s innovative start-ups is very humbling.

“The additional funding will allow us to say ‘yes’ to worthy businesses we would not have been in the position to support otherwise.”

Chairman David Shearer added: “While this enables us to double the number of winners we will only do so where the quality of the applicants meets our rigorous funding criteria. We remain resolutely committed to ensuring Scottish Edge is both a sustainable business and a force for entrepreneurial good.”