£3.2M Boost for high growth business in Scotland as the Edge Fund (“scottishedge.com”) enters new phase

Hundreds more Scottish entrepreneurs and small businesses are set to get a boost to their business plans as Royal Bank of Scotland plc (“Royal Bank of Scotland plc”) and The Hunter Foundation (“THF”) invest £2.5m and £0.7m respectively to develop scottishedge.com and take it to a new level through to the end of 2017.

Styled as a Dragon’s Den competition for ambitious entrepreneurs, scottishedge.com was established to support some of Scotland brightest new businesses to realise their growth potential. So far 69 businesses have secured funding helping their turnover grow by £5m and creating 120 new jobs.

The existing Scottish Government commitment of £2.35m, to date delivered by Scottish Enterprise, will be enhanced by this investment and managed by a new charity – enabling additional fundraising – with an independent board of Trustees to manage the cumulative £5.55m allocated up to 2017.

In turn scottishedge.com will immediately convert the current pure prize award into a 50/50 loan and prize combination in order to move towards sustainability going forward and to look beyond the 2017 timeline.

Success will fund success, fellow entrepreneurs will reinvest for the next entrepreneur in line, it’s a near perfect model,

said Sir Tom Hunter.

Applications are now live at scottishedge.com for the next round of funding and will close on 1st October. Further details will be available at www.scottishedge.com from 20th August. As well as that development, through strategic partnerships across a number of entrepreneurial support bodies, recipients of scottishedge.com will benefit from a range of extended support services, participate in a leadership education programme and become part of a Scottish entrepreneurial alumni initiative. Any business that doesn’t qualify for financial support will in turn be supported to further develop their business with a view to reapplying for scottishedge.com.

Ross McEwan, Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive said;

It is the drive and dynamism of Scotland’s entrepreneurs and small businesses that will help secure Scotland’s future economic prosperity.

That is why as Scotland’s leading business bank we are delighted to announce this further support. The fund is a brilliant example of collaboration, bringing together some of the key players in the business community to help kick start some of Scotland’s most exciting, new growth businesses. “Hopefully this new funding will help turn many more innovative ideas into growing, thriving businesses, and ensure the Scottish enterprise eco-system continues to flourish.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said;

Our people are our greatest asset and it is crucial, perhaps more now than ever, that we see their economic potential unleashed. “In 2012 the Scottish Government acted on this and established the Scottish EDGE fund to further our unique heritage of entrepreneurship, inventiveness and innovation. Thanks to support from Sir Tom Hunter and from Ross McEwan at RBS, I am delighted that the EDGE fund will continue until 2017 with enhanced investment. “The EDGE fund is a first rate example of our Scotland CAN DO commitment to becoming a world-leading entrepreneurial and innovative nation. Through our work with public, private and third sector partners we have created a real team Scotland approach, with a shared ambition of a continuing entrepreneurial revival.

Sir Tom Hunter, chairman of THF noted;

Building growth companies in Scotland is fundamental to our economic and social future. This development neatly converts a government led initiative to a private sector led programme of support, if you will ‘for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs’ and cements an excellent public private partnership. If one word summed up scottishedge.com its ambition – we need to stretch our businesses, aim for high growth and internationalization; Scotland leading the world and that’s where we should be.

The name of the new charity, Trustees and a high profile chairman will be announced shortly, but agreement between all three parties – Royal Bank of Scotland, THF and the Scottish Government has been concluded. The charity will be a subsidiary of THF. scottishedge.com will work hand in hand with Business Gateway, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise to ensure seamless support for all applicants to scottishedge.com.

Chris van der Kuyl, chairman of Entrepreneurial Scotland noted;

This is a great development for Scotland’s nascent high growth entrepreneurs. Not only does this plug the gap of risk finance but builds a package of support for businesses that should help both accelerate their development and importantly de-risk it, as such Entrepreneurial Scotland looks forward to supporting this in any way we can.

Hugh Lightbody, Chief Officer at the Business Gateway National Unitcommented;

Business Gateway assists thousands of growth businesses every year including many who have already benefitted from the Edge Fund. The development of scottishedge.com is welcomed and will undoubtedly have a positive impact on Scotland’s ambitious, small businesses.

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise said;

We are very pleased to see this new phase of the Scottish EDGE rolling out and will continue to support Highlands and Islands businesses in applying to the fund. Highlands and Islands companies have a strong track record of EDGE success. Previous winners from our region have been from a diverse range of sectors from creative industries, tourism, food and drink, manufacturing to community development. We would like to see this showcase of the innovation and talent we have in the Highlands and Islands continuing with the future rounds of scotedge. HIE and our partner organisations are committed to supporting ambitious entrepreneurs from high growth businesses to grow, move into international market and bring jobs and economic value to our region.

Lena Wilson, Chief Executive, Scottish Enterprise, said;

The Scottish EDGE was set up to help encourage and support Scotland’s expanding ecosystem of entrepreneurial activity, by providing sustainable early stage growth finance. I am delighted that the Hunter Foundation and The Royal Bank of Scotland have committed to the continuation of this sustainable model, ensuring that this funding competition can continue long into the future. This change in stewardship will see the Scottish EDGE truly become a competition by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.

Jim Duffy, CEO at Entrepreneurial Spark:

Entrepreneurial Spark has been a supporter and ambassador of the EDGE fund since it began. The support that RBS and The Hunter Foundation are providing is a great additional step forward for entrepreneurs and their businesses, as well as the Scottish economy. The new model will provide a sustainable way to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses and Entrepreneurial Spark looks forward to continuing working with them as it drives an entrepreneurial revolution in Scotland.