The two biggest winners were medical technology firm Nebu-Flow and industry services company Paragon Inspection Solutions which took home £125,000 each as winners of the Higgs EDGE award for science, technology and engineering focused businesses.
University of Glasgow spin-out Nebu-Flow, founded by Elijah Nazarzadeh and Jon Cooper, has created a novel aerosol formation technology for the efficient respiratory delivery of hard-to-nebulise drugs. Respiratory disorders are the main cause of death and disability in the world with an estimated cost of about £340 billion a year.
David Phin founded Dundee-based Paragon Inspection Solutions which has developed a unique patented inspection system, Tru-Fit. It enables fast, accurate inspection of small-bore tubing systems used in industry without any shutdown of plant.
The Final brings the total pot of money awarded through Scottish EDGE to support early stage, high growth businesses to around £15 million in the 15 rounds now completed.
Eighteen businesses took part in the Scottish EDGE finals on 3 December at the Royal Bank of Scotland Conference Centre at Gogarburn in Edinburgh with many more pitching in semi-finals and the Young EDGE and Wildcard EDGE competitions.
At the event, Theo Paphitis, entrepreneur and star of the BBC’s Dragons’ Den series, took to the stage to share the secrets of his business success. Mr Paphitis, whose business empire spans retail, property, finance and consumer goods, took part in a conversation with fellow high-profile entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter, whose Hunter Foundation is one of the key supporters of Scottish EDGE. The event culminated in an evening awards ceremony which Mr Paphitis also attended and guests heard him in conversation with Scottish EDGE chief executive officer Evelyn McDonald.
A further nine businesses had pitched at the Higgs EDGE final at RBS Business Centre on 28 November and those winners were also announced on the evening of 3 December.
The Postcode Innovation Trust supported Social Enterprise EDGE Award saw two businesses, Eat, Sleep, Ride - a horse riding therapy Social Enterprise, and River Garden Enterprises- which helps people in the early stages of recovery from drug addiction to get into long-term recovery, received funding of £25k and £40k respectively.
The Circular Economy EDGE Award, which is supported by Zero Waste Scotland, was awarded to a company using a sustainable fibre crop grown by small-scale farmers in east Africa, to create sustainable and novel materials - the East Africa Sisal Company, to the amount of £60k.
Scottish EDGE is the UK’s biggest funding competition for potential high growth businesses. It supports Scotland’s most innovative, high-growth potential early stage businesses with up to £150,000 in cash and provides a business support package that includes mentoring, support and signposting to alternative finance. It is awarded as 40% grant and 60% loan which is paid back to help fellow entrepreneurs on their pathway to success.
The Scottish EDGE Pledge also asks recipients of its funding to pledge a minimum of one per cent of the funding they make if they successfully exit their business to back more entrepreneurs through the programme.
Scottish EDGE is supported by the Hunter Foundation, Royal Bank of Scotland, the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise and has a vital role to play in the country’s economic growth.
Theo Paphitis said: "It's been a pleasure to be involved in the Scottish Edge finals today. There was a huge amount of Scottish talent there today, showing the rest of the world what they're made of! A trip down memory lane with Sir Tom was the icing on the cake for me too."
Sir Tom Hunter said: “Scottish EDGE provides pivotal gap funding to potential high growth businesses, but the funding is almost secondary to the support those businesses then benefit from, not least the peer to peer knowledge exchange. Scotland lags in building substantive high growth businesses and Scottish EDGE is a key component to eradicating that gap and accelerating Scotland’s economy.”
Gordon Merrylees, RBS managing director of entrepreneurship, said: “It’s fantastic to see 18 entrepreneurs of such a high calibre make it to the final stage of the Scottish EDGE Awards, and a testament to the innovation, disruption and growth that we see on a daily basis across all our entrepreneurial hubs in Scotland and the UK.
“This is now our fifth year working with Scottish EDGE and we’re extremely proud to be involved in an initiative that is central to RBS’ purpose of helping the UK’s entrepreneurs succeed. That success doesn’t just benefit other businesses and consumers, but is also a crucial aspect of our country’s economic growth. Congratulations and good luck to all the finalists today.”
Linda Hanna, MD of Scottish Economic Development at Scottish Enterprise, said: “We are proud to support Scottish EDGE with an additional £500,000 – made up of a loan of £300,000 and a grant of £200,000 - this year to help support some of Scotland’s most promising and ambitious entrepreneurs.
"Scottish EDGE has once again attracted a wide range of entrepreneurial talent, making it another exciting and closely-fought competition. Programmes such as this are vital to the future of our economy by helping to create and grow businesses that will sustain growth including quality jobs. Congratulations to all the winners - we look forward to engaging with them and following their growth journeys.”
The Higgs EDGE winners shared a total of £250,000. The Higgs EDGE winners are:
- Glasgow based Nebu-Flow £125,000 - Novel aerosol formation platform technology enables efficient delivery of advanced medicines to the lungs
- Dundee based Paragon Inspection Solutions £125,000 - Developing a unique patented inspection system 'Tru-Fit' enabling fast, accurate inspection of small bore tubing systems used in Oil & Gas industry without any shutdown of plant
The Circular Economy EDGE winner is:
- Roslin based The East Africa Sisal Company £60,000 - Use sisal, a sustainable fibre crop grown by small-scale farmers in east Africa, to create sustainable and novel materials,main product is natural fibre insulation products
The Social Enterprise EDGE winners shared a total of £65,000. The Social Enterprise EDGE winners are:
- Auchincruive based River Garden Enterprises (IFDAS) £40,000 - Help people in the early stages of recovery from drug addiction to get into long-term recovery - includes River Garden Cafe, River Garden Wood, & River Garden Stone
- Reston based Eat, Sleep, Ride £25,000 - Horse-riding based programme develops a variety of emotional and professional key skills including: communication; team work; understanding and self-awareness
The Scottish EDGE winners shared a total of £725,000. The Scottish EDGE winners are:
- Glasgow based Bounce Back Drinks £50,000 - Scientifically-backed drinks for specific health challenges with the first product being UK's first fully compliant and clinically-tested After-Alcohol Revival Drink
- Edinburgh based Hatch AI £60,000 - 'Human+' platform combines speech technology and natural language processing to transform productivity and client engagement across Legal and Financial services
- Edinburgh based Hindsight £50,000 - Invented a new rear-view mirror tool allowing cyclists to be significantly more road aware
- Aberdeen based Intebloc £90,000 - Developing innovative, transformative solutions for more efficient, safer lifting for Cranes
- Glasgow based My Language Connection £35,000 - Help companies with international growth by translating their website copy which increases traffic
- Glasgow based NAF! Stuff £100,000 - Vegan & Cruelty Free Nail Care made by Nail Technicians
- Glasgow based Product Guru £50,000 - Web-based product discovery platform that makes it easier for retail buyers to find innovative challenger brands
- Angus based Wilsons Pet Food £50,000 - Manufactures premium dog food using human- grade ingredients to create premium Raw Frozen and Cold Pressed dog food
- Kelso based ThermaFy £100,000 - Developed ThermaFY software which can analyse in Real Time thermal images on your phone
- Glasgow based Skillfluence £40,000 - Work with universities, innovation centres and research centres to design innovative programmes to support development of scientists, researchers, academics and technical specialists
- Glasgow based Teprac Fuels £100,000 - Recycle 100% carpet waste into a renewable energy source – creating an alternative domestic fuel, the Teprac Briquette.
Wild Card EDGE winners share a total of £75,000. This category is designed to boost pre-trading businesses on their start-up journey. The Wild Card EDGE winners are:
- Glasgow-based Seawater Solutions £15,000 - introducing sustainable farming practices which use seawater to grow salt-tolerant crops for environmental and climate resilience purposes (technology and engineering sector).
- Glasgow-based Bonjour £10,000 – Scotland’s first club venue centred on the requirements of LGBTQ+, Black and Minority Ethnic (BME), women identifying and non-binary individuals (food and drink sector).
- Glasgow-based Designed Forlife £10,000 - Sofa forLife - a circular economy and sustainably design sofa which reduces waste (manufacturing sector).
- Edinburgh-based Eyesight Electronics £10,000 – has developed a patent-pending product for the diagnosis and therapy of Amblyopia (lazy eye) which affects 230 million children worldwide (technology and engineering sector).
- Edinburgh-based IMERAI £10,000 – has developed an ultrasonic echolocation sensor that provides useful environmental data without identifying personal, recognisable features (technology and engineering sector).
- Fife-based LIMITS Technology £10,000 – has developed a cycling power meter that enables the average cycling enthusiast to use the same technology as professional cyclists (technology and engineering sector).
- Edinburgh-based Waterwhelm £10,000 - commercialising a patent-pending technology for self-powered treatment of wastewater- takes in sewage and turns it into freshwater, renewable energy and fertiliser (chemical sciences sector).
Young EDGE winners share a total of £75,000. This category is designed to help companies whose directors are all aged 18 to 30. The Young EDGE winners are:
- Edinburgh-based S'wheat £15,000 - first reusable bottle made from entirely plant based materials (manufacturing sector).
- Aberdeen-based ArchiLink £10,000 – a platform that makes the process of finding a designer much easier by creating a destination to source architectural services (construction sector).
- Edinburgh-based IX Tech £10,000 - AI assistant designed for small e-commerce businesses using Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing to simplify the way users interact with business data (technology and engineering sector).
- East Dunbartonshire-based Michael Youmans £10,000 – a new Scottish watch and lifestyle brand, influenced by Scotland’s heritage and culture, crafted from reclaimed whisky casks (creative industries sector).
- Edinburgh-based RivalKit £10,000 - community-centric custom sports clubs clothing company using a global network of manufacturers (textiles sector).
- Edinburgh-based SageCity £10,000 - build tech tools for organisations. Its key product is Internal Payments System (IPS), a financial management tool that efficiently and smartly matches and settles transactions (technology and engineering sector).
- Glasgow-based StrEAT Events £10,000 - online catering marketplace for street food and independent caterers (food and drink sector).