Several of Scotland’s leading entrepreneurs have committed an additional £1 million of grants and loans to Scottish EDGE, the UK’s biggest funding competition for start ups and potential high growth businesses.
Entrepreneurs supporting the initiative include: Sir Tom Hunter, Kevin Dorren, Sir Brian Souter, James Watt, Lord and Lady Haughey, Chris van der Kuyl and Paddy Burns. The additional funding will be awarded over the next four rounds of Scottish EDGE.
The Scottish EDGE competition supports Scotland’s most innovative, early-stage businesses with high-growth potential with awards of up to £150,000 in cash, which are a combination of grants and loans. It also provides a business support package that includes mentoring, support and signposting to alternative finance.
The loan part of each award is paid back into the fund to help other entrepreneurs on their pathway to success.
The fundraising comes after Raising Scotland’s Economic Gowth Rate, a report published by Oxford Economics, commissioned by The Hunter Foundation indicated that radical and ambitious policy changes are required if Scotland’s economic performance is to be transformed and significantly boosted within the next 15 years.
The aim of the report was to address issues such as low productivity, poor business birth rate and lack of success with scale-ups within Scotland, which helps to explain why Scotland’s GDP per head is a mere 44% of Singapore’s level, 48% of Ireland’s, 68% of Norway’s and 75% of Denmark’s.
As the report highlighted the need for the private and public sector to step up to support Scotland’s economic growth, the £1 million committed to Scottish EDGE was achieved in just two days. The entrepreneurs are committing between £100k-£500k each to the fundraising initiative which will primarily be in the form of loans.
The pledges are as follows:
Combination of grants and loans:
- Sir Tom Hunter £300K grants £200K loans
- Kevin Dorren £100K
- Sir Brian Souter £100K
- James Watt £100K
- Lord and Lady Haughey £100K
- Chris van der Kuyl and Paddy Burns, Chroma Ventures £100K
Sir Tom Hunter, Founder, The Hunter Foundation, said:
“This is a classic case of high-quality demand outstripping funding supply – we all need to step up, as entrepreneurs and Government. As we look for ways to help solve the problem of poor economic growth in Scotland, it’s clear that early-stage, high-growth businesses will play a key role in driving this change – both in rebuilding the economy and providing employment opportunities. Scottish EDGE offers pivotal help in giving these businesses an opportunity to scale up and fulfil their potential.
“Start-ups are good, but scale-ups are great – they move the economic dial. Scottish EDGE’s track record speaks for itself and scaling it up is, in common parlance, a no-brainer!”
Chris van der Kuyl of Chroma Ventures said
“Scottish EDGE is a global success story created in Scotland and we are delighted to stand with fellow Scottish Entrepreneurs in investing in the next chapter. The companies that win future funding from Scottish EDGE will go on to be part of the backbone of our economy and will be a big part of Scotland continuing to punch above its weight on the world stage.”
James Watt, BrewDog CEO and Co-Founder said:
“Scottish EDGE is imperative to the development and growth of our future leaders and underpins the fundamentals of innovation, the foundation of which is continuous learning.
“Entrepreneurs take risks, are wildly ambitious and have unwavering faith in the impossible. By bolstering these programs, Scottish EDGE is able to provide strategic allocation of resources, while creating value for the not yet imagined.”
Kevin Dorren, CEO of Edinburgh-based ready meal firm Parsley Box, said:
“Supporting high growth start-ups is essential to economic dynamism by spurring innovation and encouraging competition. Ambitious early-stage businesses can, with the right support, have a direct impact on the cities that they make their homes and scale up to create ripples of growth for the local economy.”
Sir Brian Souter said
“Small companies are the growth engine of the Scottish economy, and in the digital age, there has never been a better time for entrepreneurs to capitalise on technology to turn their ideas into break through innovation.“
Lord Haughey said
“I am absolutely delighted to participate in helping to fund early-stage businesses through Scottish EDGE, the success of this initiative has produced some fantastic businesses, which in turn have created thousands of jobs.”
David Shearer, Chairman, Scottish EDGE, said:
“This is an unequivocal testament to the impact Scottish EDGE continues to generate in supporting the next wave of high growth potential businesses. It shows Scotland’s entrepreneurs are willing to commit where they know the outcomes impact positively on Scotland’s future. This commitment is very welcome and I hope stimulates further constructive debate within Scottish Government as to where and how it focuses its financial resources to maximise impacts for Scotland’s economic growth.”
If you’re not yet familiar with the Scottish Edge competition, you can find out more about it here. The SGN also spoke to Steve Hammill, the COO of Scottish Edge, about the competition and how games companies can get involved… The next round of the competition should open later in 2021.