The competition, which is exclusive to those businesses which have successfully come through Scottish EDGE in any of its 13 rounds to date, is the result of a recent £1 million funding boost from Scottish Enterprise, a percentage of which was set aside to offer additional backing to previous winners.
The shared ambition of Scottish EDGE and Scottish Enterprise in introducing the WEDGE Award is to support entrepreneurs that have maximised the use of their EDGE funding and have the systems and expertise in place to scale or internationalise their business with the right support. This, in turn, aligns with both organisations’ objectives to help Scottish businesses thrive and grow globally, and to bring more quality jobs for people across Scotland.
The search for the WEDGE winners kicked-off mid-January, attracting applications from EDGE’s impressive talent pool of alumni, ranging as far back as Round 1 of the competition to the most recent Round 13. During the intensive assessment phase which followed, eight businesses were selected to pitch their business progression ideas to an expert panel of judges, consisting of Leah Pape of Scottish Enterprise, Matt Little of ZoneFox, Simon Kujawa of Re:markable, Neil Francis of Scottish Development International and business consultant, Alex Knight.
Beauty Kitchen, who focus on the power of nature in their cost-effective natural beauty product range, received the Scale-up award for the business that was able to demonstrate the highest level of Scale-up impact through the support of the award.
Beauty Kitchen Founder, Jo Chidley, said:
“Winning the WEDGE award at this stage in our business is critical. We are scaling and this injection of cash will help to ensure we have the capacity to pursue all the opportunities that we have before us, at just the right time. This award will allow us to finalise the fixture development for our international store roll-outs, enable initial hiring of our next three key people, acquire laboratory equipment to support our Return-Refill-Repeat programme, and assist with attaining greater certification and protection of our products"
Premiership Experience, a business which offers award-winning sporting experiences provided through its exclusive partnerships with leading organisations in sport, received the International award by demonstrating the greatest level of potential international impact.
Kieran Coyle, Founder of Premiership Experience said:
“To be recognised as one of the leading businesses within EDGE’s impressive alumni is something we are delighted with. In order to expand our international reach, we plan to hire two international managers to handle overseas customers travelling to Scotland, with particular focus on the Chinese and US markets. The financial support of winning this award will play a significant role in helping us achieve these and other business objectives globally, in what is going to be an exciting period for the business moving forward”.
The winning pair were presented with their awards at a Scottish EDGE Business Celebration event in Glasgow’s itison House, hosted by itison founder, Oli Norman and featuring keynote talks by Margaret Gibson OBE, Deputy Chief Exec of EY Foundation and David Duke MBE, founder of Street Soccer Scotland. Both the Scale-up and International WEDGE Awards are presented as £100,000 - 60% Loan / 40% Grant.
Photo - L to R: Margaret Gibson OBE, Deputy Chief Exec of EY Foundation; Oli Norman, Founder of itison; Stuart Chidley, Director of Beauty Kitchen; Kieran Coyle, Founder of Premiership Experience; David Duke MBE, Founder of Street Soccer Scotland
Scottish Enterprise CEO Steve Dunlop said:
“It was an honour to present these very deserving winners with an additional £100,000 each, in recognition of their huge potential to scale up or internationalise. Beauty Kitchen and Premiership Experience are both innovative and inspirational companies that undoubtedly have a bright future ahead of them and I look forward to following their respective journeys.”
Evelyn McDonald, CEO of Scottish EDGE, said:
“Selecting two winners from our eight highly accomplished finalists was never going to be an easy task for our panel, all had come a long way since their initial EDGE wins and demonstrated incredible progression in terms of turnover and profit.
“I’m delighted, however, that the judges were able to identify Beauty Kitchen and Premiership Experience as being in the greatest position to take on the challenges of taking a business to the growth or international phase with the backing of the award. We look forward to supporting both businesses in this next exciting stage of their journey.”