Edinburgh entrepreneur scoops top accolade and cash

Douglas Martin is the founder and MD of MiAlgae. Picture: Contributed
Douglas Martin is the founder and MD of MiAlgae. Picture: Contributed
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The founder of an Edinburgh-based venture that has developed a product which uses waste from the whisky industry to sustainably farm fish has been crowned 2018 Shell LiveWire Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Douglas Martin founded and is managing director of MiAlgae, beating five other national finalists to take home the top prize, win a total of £30,000 and a programme of business development support from Shell.

The equity-free funding will help the business to develop its product which uses by-products of the whisky industry to grow micro-algae which can then be used to farm fish. This reduces the environmental impact of the distilleries while simultaneously producing valuable nutrients at affordable prices.

Shell LiveWire has been running in the UK since 1982 and in that time has made 5,145 monetary awards and provided £5 million of funding.

Martin said: “Being named as the Shell LiveWire Young Entrepreneur of the Year is such an exciting moment for MiAlgae. The £30,000 comes at a crucial moment and will allow us to further develop our technology and reach our goal of getting MiAlgae to commercial scale.”

Jane Pritchard, chair of the judging panel, said: “The standard was extremely high and testament to the dynamism of the UK low-carbon SME sector.”

She added: “MiAlgae is an incredibly impressive business and I have no doubt of its potential to thrive and make a significant contribution to the energy transition.”