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Entrepreneurs fund to give Scotland the EDGE

19 October 2012

£1 million investment to encourage and support dynamic growth entrepreneurs

Finance Secretary John Swinney will today (Friday, October 19) announce the creation of a £1million Scottish entrepreneurs fund called EDGE - Encouraging Dynamic Growth Entrepreneurs - which will help accelerate innovative business ideas.

The fund will invest up to £50,000 in entrepreneurial businesses to stimulate economic growth. A key feature of the fund will be an Investment Panel drawn from Scotland's leading entrepreneurs and business people, including Sir Tom Hunter and Sir Willie Haughey, who will use their extensive business experience to consider the business proposals and pitches for funding.

The Scottish Government has worked closely with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Scottish Enterprise, Royal Bank of Scotland and business hothouse Entrepreneurial Spark in developing the new Fund.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "The Scottish Government is looking at new and innovative ways for the private and public sectors to work together to assist business growth in Scotland. That is why we are establishing a £1 million fund to unlock investment for entrepreneurs.

"This Government and our enterprise agencies are focused on maintaining Scotland's position as the most supportive environment for business in the UK. Scottish EDGE will target ambitious entrepreneurs wishing to establish or grow their business and will provide real opportunities for them to contribute to Scotland's economic success."

Sir Tom Hunter said: "This is a huge boost for entrepreneurs in Scotland - John Swinney and the Scottish Government should be commended for recognising the need and indeed acting upon it.

"Hopefully this will help further boost high growth businesses in Scotland."

Sir Willie Haughey added: "I am absolutely delighted to be involved in Scottish Edge and in assisting Jim Duffy with the E-Spark initiative, which has played a key role in developing this Fund. This scheme is something that Scotland has been crying out for. I have no doubt that this support for start up businesses will increase the success rate."

Gordon Merrylees, Business Banking Managing Director for RBS in Scotland said: "In addition to the £1million RBS committed to helping entrepreneurs earlier this month, we will also play an active part in the Scottish Government's fund for growing businesses. We will work in partnership with the Scottish Government on Scottish EDGE to provide mentoring, essential business security advice and two years free banking for the recipients of the awards."

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: "In this economic climate, entrepreneurs across Scotland are key to stimulating growth and creating jobs. Highlands and Islands Enterprise are delighted to help entrepreneurs from young companies to move up a gear through investment from this fund."

Lena Wilson, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise said: "The Scottish EDGE will be a crucial step forward in how we can help ambitious forward-looking companies to translate ideas and research into viable businesses more quickly and help create a new generation of Scottish entrepreneurs.

"Providing companies with access to new sources of finance is vital in the current climate and we need to look at innovative and creative ways to engage the private sector that will allow us to share risk and leverage more investment for Scottish companies. This fund is a great example of how we're doing this and it will complement our other grants and investment products so that companies can access the right type of investment at the right time for their business."

Further information:

  • The Scottish EDGE will receive applications from 01 November 2012. Applicants will be expected to submit a short focused business plan and a 60 second online video pitch. Shortlisted applicants will then attend one of three Pitching Days across the country. A further shortlist will then be created of applicants going forward to a high level Investment Panel in Spring 2013.
  • The panel will award investments of between £20,000- £50,000 in companies. The Investment Panel will include prominent Scottish entrepreneurs and business people, plus RBS and representatives of Scotland's enterprise agencies.
  • The fund will be operated by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Scottish Enterprise. RBS are the private sector partners on the Fund and are assisting with the operation of the fund and will provide valuable business support packages for companies invested in. The enterprise agencies, Business Gateway and Entrepreneurial Spark will also provide business advice for companies supported.

Applicants in the Highands and Islands region can find out more on HIE's Scottish EDGE pages. The application process will open 01 November. 

Applicants in the Scottish Enterprise area can find out more on the Scottish Enterprise website

Find out more about Entrepreneurial Spark


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