Six young businesses from the Highlands and Islands were celebrating last night after Finance Secretary John Swinney announced the winners of round three of the Scottish EDGE Awards.
More than £690,000 of funding was awarded to some of Scotland’s most innovative, forward-thinking young start-up companies, with almost a third of the total awarded to Highlands and Islands businesses.
Launched in August 2013, this third round of the competition received 314 applications. The applications were considered by an Investment Panel, who selected 30 finalists to go on to pitch for the prize money in person.
The finalist judging panel of Lord Willie Haughey, Chairman of City Refrigeration Holdings, Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Marie Macklin, Chief Executive of the KLIN Group, Hermann Twickler, Managing Director of PressureFab Group and Chris Wilson, Managing Director of retail and private banking, RBS, decided on the winners.
Highlands and Islands winners are:
HIE already works closely with four of the six winners, helping them to grow and realise their ambitions.
CLDB specialise in designing and manufacturing some of the most eco-friendly buildings in Scotland. Their low energy and sustainable buildings range from small portable homes to design led bespoke buildings and they have developed a system for delivering these to site up to 90% complete in large 3D sections. The company won £20,000 for new equipment for their expanded workshop in Invergordon, for rebranding and for IP protection.
Matt Stevenson, Director of CLDB, commented: "I'm really pleased to be one of the winners from Highland. Huge thanks are due to HIE and especially to Stephanie Anderson, Ewen MacAulay and Nicola Ewing and also to Ali Murray at Atlantic Marketing for their invaluable assistance in preparing for the competition. This EDGE award will help me and my dedicated team at CLDB to propel ourselves forwards and to continue to innovate and develop our low energy buildings, creating more new jobs and opportunities in Highland."
Robert Mackenzie of CCS Estates won £19,000. Robert set up CULLISSE Highland Rapeseed Oil from the home farm where Robert, his brothers and their father were all brought up - the hub of the family farming operation for almost 100 years.
Robert said: “It is extremely exciting to be recognised and this award will be a great boost towards building the brand and growing the company.”
Gerard MacDonald is the owner of Isle of Barra Oysters, which supplies Pacific oysters to national supermarkets across the UK. Gerard started the company in 2009 and last night won £40,000 to purchase equipment and adopt a new oyster growing technology. HIE account manager Joanna Peteranna has worked alongside Gerard and supported his Scottish EDGE entry.
Gerard commented: "We are absolutely delighted with our win. The assistance from Ewan, Ali and Stephanie through HIE was brilliant and made a big difference to the quality of our pitch. This win will allow me to expand the business significantly."
Dhu Performance has developed high quality performance cashmere garments which are lightweight, functional and durable specifically for use in sporting and performance activities. The company won £50,000 towards increasing marketing, attending key trade shows and exhibitions, employing a sales specialist and building the team in design, production, admin and marketing.
Ian Moore, Founder and Director of Dhu Performance, commented: “Scottish EDGE was an inspiring event for us to attend. We are incredibly proud to be a Highland business. We look forward to building our dynamic and innovative company and are excited about the future.”
Angelic Gluten Free was founded in Inverness by Kirsty Gillies - who has created a range of gluten free cookies and biscuits. Kirsty won £50,000 to employ a new marketing manager and marketing assistant, international website development, attending international trade shows, increasing advertising activities and undertaking market research for the US market.
Kirsty commented: “Receiving this award for the EDGE provides our business with the momentum to grow internationally. The support from HIE has been fantastic and we look forward to working with them to deliver our plans.”
H&I Adventures Ltd offers mountain biking adventures and holidays across Scotland and internationally. The company has won £25,000 towards developing their brand marketing and employing an Operations Assistant.
The Scottish Government has worked closely with Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Prince’s Youth Business Trust, Business Gateway and Entrepreneurial Spark in delivering the project.
Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of HIE and one of the judging panel, commented: “Once again, the standard of entries for Scottish EDGE was extremely high. It is heartening to know that entrepreneurship in Scotland is not only growing but reaching new heights. The Scottish EDGE is a celebration of innovation and ambition and gives the finalists invaluable experience in order to move their businesses forward.
“Out of 30 businesses, 21 were awarded funding in this round. These winners will now go on to an exciting new chapter which we will continue to support. But this does not take anything away from those who did not win this time. All of the finalists should be extremely proud of their achievements and if they take on board many of the things they have learned from this experience I have no doubt that the future of entrepreneurship in Scotland is exciting indeed.”
The full list of winning companies in the third round of the Scottish EDGE awards is:
From the Highlands and Islands (£204,000 total):
Rest of Scotland (£486,000):
The Scottish EDGE is operated by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Scottish Enterprise. RBS is the private sector partner on the Fund and is assisting with the operation of the Fund and providing valuable business support packages for companies invested in. The enterprise agencies, Business Gateway and Entrepreneurial Spark also provide business advice for companies supported.