Scottish EDGE Round 12 awards nearly £1 million to Scotland’s most promising start-up businesses

The winners of Scottish EDGE Round 12 have been announced with stem cell research business, Cytochroma taking home the Higgs EDGE Science and Technology Special Award.

Each of the winners will take home up to a six-figure share of the £1million prize pot and will receive an all-encompassing package of support from Scottish EDGE’s partner organisations to help them fast-track and grow their business.

The winning businesses came from 20 Scottish EDGE finalists who pitched their business idea live at Stirling’s Macrobert Arts Centre on 29th May to a panel of business heavyweights made up of:

Jim McColl OBE of Clyde Blowers
Steve Dunlop of Scottish Enterprise
Simon Hannah of Filshill
Maeve McMahon of Royal Bank of Scotland
Carol Beattie of Stirling Council

During the intense final, the judges deliberated over the various pitches before declaring 11 of the businesses winners.

Scottish EDGE 12 Judging Panel

Addressing the finalists prior to the awards announcement Sir Tom Hunter, renowned Scottish entrepreneur and supporter of Scottish EDGE said:

It’s fantastic to support Scottish EDGE; the businesses that come through EDGE grow faster with less risk because EDGE is not just about money, but the embedded support on offer.

EDGE businesses are the lifeblood of the Scottish economy and we are delighted to support you as you grow and prosper – Scotland needs many more like you!

Sir Tom Hunter Opening the EDGE 12 Awards

The Higgs EDGE Special Award of £150,000 was won by scientist, Dr Kate Cameron, who set up Cytochroma to address increasingly expensive yet less effective practices of drug discovery. Cytochroma combines state-of-the-art automated technology to generate stem cell-derived liver cells that model human physiology and accurately identify liver based toxicity.

Higgs EDGE winner Cytochroma with Evelyn McDonald and Jim McColl OBE

Curious Chip founder Sukhvir Dhillon, the creator of a handheld computer device that teaches code to anyone aged 8 and upwards, took home the creative industry-specific special award, Creative EDGE, which is supported by Creative Scotland and  Cultural Enterprise Office.

Clive Gillman, Director of Creative Industries, Creative Scotland, said:

We’re pleased to continue to support some of Scotland’s brightest creative innovators through these awards. It’s been really exciting to see smart ideas turned into businesses that have the power to transform the lives of many people, and to see first-hand the skills, ambitions and creative purpose embodied in everyone who has taken part. Huge congratulations to Curious Chip, who are working to help young people learn how to code through their engaging low-cost hand-held Pip computer.

Creative EDGE winner – Curious Chip with Fiona Hyslop MSP

The highest amount awarded in the Scottish EDGE category was given to Douglas Martin of MiAlgae, who received £100,000 for his business’ novel approach to algae production to harvest high-value Omega 3 Oils from micro-algae grown on wastewater.

Scottish EDGE Winners MiAlgie with Fiona Hyslop MSP

Additional awards of £10,000 were given to 6 winners in the Young EDGE category, for entrepreneurs under the age of 30, with the Harper Macleod Young EDGE award of £15,000 going to Scott Dickson of Phox Water, a business which produces a filtration suite designed to offer an alternative to bottled water and thus reduce the potential harm it does to the environment.

EDGE12 Young EDGE Winners

Harper Macleod Young EDGE winner – Phox Water with Kris Reid of Tens and Paula Skinner of Harper Macleod

A further seven awards were given in the Wild Card EDGE category for businesses who have yet to commence trading, with Martina Zupan of Alterwaste, a business that turns waste by-products into new sustainable materials, taking the top £15,000 prize and the remainder receiving £10,000.

EDGE12 Wild Card EDGE Winners

Wild Card EDGE Top Award Winner Martina Zupan with Evelyn McDonald and Sir Tom Hunter

As the UK’s largest business funding competition, Scottish EDGE has awarded over £10 million thus far and is given as a 40% grant and a 60% loan, with a maximum award of up to £150,000. The loan is paid back to help fellow entrepreneurs on their pathway to success. Both the Young EDGE and Wild Card EDGE awards are grants of up to £10,000.

Scottish EDGE CEO, Evelyn McDonald said:

Tonight’s ceremony signalled the end of an exciting and emotional four-month journey not just for this round’s finalists and winners, but also for us at Scottish EDGE. The welcome and support that we received from the people of Stirling during the competition’s first live final outside of Edinburgh was outstanding and the enthusiasm shown for our finalists was hugely encouraging.

Congratulations to the inspirational winners and also to our runners up who worked exceptionally hard to get this far, our judges had a challenging task narrowing down the twenty exceptional businesses who pitched down to just eleven. We welcome the entrepreneurs awarded tonight to our high achieving alumni of 293 previous Scottish EDGE winners who thus far have generated an additional £104.22 million in turnover, secured £82.47 million in additional investment and created 1,381 jobs.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

Scotland has a proud heritage of innovation and hosts an incredibly rich entrepreneurial environment. The Scottish Government seeks to harness this resource to make Scotland a world-leading entrepreneurial and innovative nation.

Scotland CAN DO is our platform for achieving this, representing a shared, cross-sector vision that enterprising activity is important for all, and that by working collectively we can make Scotland the best possible place for business.

Scottish EDGE embodies these principles and exemplifies the collaborative CAN DO approach. It gives a huge boost to supporting and growing entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial activity in Scotland. I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in this round of the Scottish EDGE – the competitors, successful and unsuccessful, as well as our partners – for making this such an important evening.

Fiona Hyslop MSP – Speaking at EDGE12 Awards

Gordon Merrylees, Head of Entrepreneurship for Royal Bank of Scotland said:

Congratulations to all of the finalists for making it through to the last and most crucial stage of the competition, which in itself is a tremendous achievement. These finalists showed that the calibre of Scottish entrepreneurs continues to flourish and the winners announced tonight are a wonderful endorsement of the exceptional entrepreneurial talent and spirit being cultivated within the Scottish ecosystem.

The Scottish EDGE winners are:

Aurora Sustainability – Sets up demonstrative Circular Economy Biorefinery in clusters for social, private and public organisations, offering mentoring and trainings on the CE business model. From: Moray | Amount: £45,000

Broker Insights Ltd – A platform that provides insurers with powerful search capabilities to direct their sales resources to the right brokers, at the right time, for the right business.
From: Dundee | Amount: £75,000

Cearban Ltd – An adventure wildlife tourism business, offering transformational experiences, such as swimming with basking sharks around the Inner Hebrides.
From: Oban | Amount: £50,000

Guy & Beard Ltd – High quality barber shops made out of converted shipping containers in convenient locations, with free parking and affordable prices. From: Bishopton | Amount: £75,000

Just Venue Holding Ltd – An online platform that aims to socialise event space booking, by connecting event hosts and organizers with space owners and managers. From: Dundee | Amount: £50,000

MiAlgae Ltd – Developed a novel algae production to harvest Omega 3 oils from micro-algae grown on waste water. From: Edinburgh | Amount: £100,000

Novosound – Sells novel, printed, ultrasound sensors to the industrial inspection, medical imaging and dental imaging markets. From: Paisley | Amount: £50,000

The Little Herb Farm – A fine food manufacturing business creating a range of sweet fruit vinegars using mainly its own herbs and a range of chilled dips.
From: Fife | Amount: £40,000

The Start-up Drinks Lab Ltd – Provide manufacturing, packaging and storage solutions for small-medium sized soft drink companies for everything from “concept to shelf”.
From: Glasgow | Amount: £75,000

Higgs EDGE winner:

Cytochroma – Combines state of the art, automated technology and pioneering science to generate stem cell derived liver cells that model human physiology.
From: Edinburgh | Amount: £150,000

Creative EDGE Winner:

Curious Chip Ltd – Creator of Pip – a handheld computer that combines
programmability, expandability and high-performance graphics into a portable, attractive and easy-to-use package. From: Glasgow | Amount: £50,000

Young EDGE Winners were:

404 Ink – 404 Ink is the multi-award winning independent publisher of books and literary magazines. Dubbed the ‘nasty women shaking up the book industry’, they were named the Emerging Publishers of the Year and #1 in the List Hot 100 for cultural influencers in 2017.
From: Edinburgh| Amount: £10,000

Fodilicious Ltd – An innovative food business based in Scotland providing the UK’s first gluten free and dairy free freshly prepared meal options which follow the low FODMAP diet – suitable for people who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other gut relatedillnesses. From: Livingston | Amount: £10,000

Phox Water Ltd – Phox Water’s slogan ‘Drink Clean’ doesn’t only relate to the filtered water its product creates, it is a reminder that the water we consume has a carbon footprint. Phox’s product suite is designed to let people avoid bottled water and the harm it does to our environment. From: Glasgow | Amount: £15,000

The Turing Trust – A social enterprise that is innovatively reusing ICTs to provide education and training in Scotland and rural African communities. By re-imagining the use of technology, The Turing Trust are pushing towards a Circular Economy, building capability at home and creating sustainable incomes and improved digital education access.
From: Edinburgh | Amount: £10,000

Tipsy Unicorn Sweets – Tipsy Unicorn Sweets prides itself on creating delicious sweets using all natural ingredients. Since launching the Rock Rose Gin and Tonic Jelly ranges, the business has struggled to keep up with demand. This has led to discussions with a third party about outsourcing production.
From: Nairn | Amount: £10,000

Token Zero – Token Zero is developing a remote environmental monitor for rental properties, in order to inform landlords and property managers of potentially damaging situations developing in their premises, allowing them to intervene early and save money.
From: Glasgow | Amount: £10,000

Udrafter – An on demand and real-time student recruitment platform where local businesses can post one off jobs to be completed by skilled students within hours, even minutes. Udrafter is Scotland’s first dedicated one-off student jobs platform that provides a wide range of different student skill sets, all in one friendly platform that saves businesses time and money. Aberdeen | Amount: £10,000

WildCard EDGE winners were:

Alterwaste Ltd – A business which turns industrial waste by-products into new sustainable materials. Alterwaste’s first product is a fully compostable material made from industrial eggshell waste with the potential to replace plastic and other non-sustainable materials in a range of industries, from cosmetics to construction. From: Edinburgh | Amount: £15,000

Farm-Hand Ltd – Builds flexible precision irrigation products that enable farmers to irrigate in a ‘right-volume, right-time’ approach in water-scarce regions. The company works for economic uplift, scare resource conservation, social cohesion and labour freedom in the agriculture space. From: Longniddry | Amount: £10,000

Hearing Diagnostics Ltd – Hearing Diagnostics aims to develop more accurate hearing screening technology to enable early detection and diagnosis of hearing loss. The business’s technology combines the use of novel algorithms and research methods to ensure high accuracy and reliability of screening results.
Edinburgh | Amount: £10,000

Inrobin Ltd – Inrobin provides predictive maintenance and risk management solutions to industrial companies. Manufacturers can connect their industrial assets to Inrobin’s digital platform, which analyses the data and gives new insights, these insights serve to create a risk profile that results in lower insurance premiums.
Edinburgh | Amount: £10,000

Scrumptious Garden – This business turns underused urban land into attractive, productive, market gardens. Scrumptious Garden partners with city councils and housing associations, gaining free access to land that is otherwise a costly drain in return for creating beautiful and welcoming spaces.
From: Livingston | Amount: £10,000

SecondPerspective – An innovative rehabilitation product based company. Focusing on product development and user experience provided through SP’s product range. The first solution to be brought to market is an intelligent pressure cuff system employing blood flow restriction therapy for use in rehabilitation.
Edinburgh | Amount: £10,000

Thermoelectric Conversion Systems Ltd – Proposes a scalable clean-technology to fill the void in present cooling technologies and aims to target data-centre equipment suppliers to develop highly-efficient industry-leading technology. By employing thermoelectric-coolers driven by novel power converters, data-centre cooling efficiency can increase by 50%.
From: Glasgow | Amount: £10,000