Early-stage, high growth businesses awarded around £1 million at Scottish EDGE finals

BUSINESSES with high growth potential from across Scotland have benefited to the tune of around £1 million after emerging as winners at the Scottish EDGE Awards.

The two biggest winners were medical technology firm Nebu-Flow and industry services company Paragon Inspection Services 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.

Today’s 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 on 28 November and those winners were also announced on the evening of 3 December.

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 1 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.”

For more information on Scottish EDGE please visit https://www.scottishedge.com/

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