Four Highlands and Islands companies won a total of £173,500 last week in the fourth round of the Scottish EDGE competition.
The Scottish EDGE competition is designed to help innovative young Scottish companies to expand and grow by creating more jobs in Scotland and taking advantage of opportunities to move into international markets.
Applicants from the Highlands and Islands were supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) in developing their business plans and received coaching and support in preparing their pitches for the judging panel.
Five of the thirty finalists were from the Highlands and Islands: Coast & Glen from Inverness, Speyside Craft Brewery from Moray, MotoScotland from Argyll, Hebridean Spa from the Isle of Lewis and Kirsteen Stewart from Orkney.
Coast & Glen won £24,000 to grow their business through the purchase of new equipment to expand their production capacity, investment n new software to digitalise their processes and in improving their website.
MotoScotland won £50,000 to scale up their business through employing a new Offroad Motorbike Training instructor, to improve their website, increase their marketing and sales capacity and to add more bikes to their stock.
Hebridean Spa won £50,000 to move the business into new UK spa markets, develop overseas markets, attend trade shows in the UK and abroad and move to larger premises in Stornoway to scale up production.
Kirsteen Stewart won £50,000 to grow her fashion design business into a global brand. This will be through employing a graduate placement to undertake a dedicated sales role, attending trade shows in London Paris, working with a PR & Marketing specialist to extend the reach of the brand and increase volumes of stock to meet the growing demand for Kirsteen Stewart products.
Stephanie Anderson, Development Manager for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at HIE, said “We are absolutely thrilled for the Highlands and Islands businesses who won at the Scottish EDGE Awards. The standard of competition was very high and the companies from our region demonstrated once again that they are amongst the best in Scotland. Having winners from such a diverse range of businesses from the fashion, adventure tourism, natural skincare and fisheries sectors is a fabulous showcase of the innovation and talent we have across our area. HIE and our partners have been supporting these companies to develop and grow and we will continue to do so in the exciting times ahead as they expand further and move into international markets, bringing jobs and economic value to our region.”
- Coast & Glen
Coast & Glen is a fish merchant business based in Inverness run by ex-fisherman and entrepreneur Magnus Houston and his partner Fiona Hogg. The business supplies locally sourced, high quality fish, seafood and game to over 100 hotels and restaurants throughout the Highlands and exports shellfish to Europe. Coast & Glen have pioneered the "Fishbox" which is an online subscription to a home delivered mixed seafood box. The fish is sustainably caught, healthy, fresh from the sea, and allows people easy access to fine Scottish seafood.
Magnus has previously won the Princes Trust Youth Business Scotland (PTYBS) Award for Young Entrepreneur and now the Scottish EDGE Award will allow him to build on his success and accelerate his growth.
Magnus said: "We're absolutely delighted that the ten judges, who were all experienced businessmen and women, have seen the potential in Coast & Glen's fishbox concept. The £24,000 awarded from EDGE means we are now well on our way to making our fishbox process more efficient, allowing us to scale up our factory equipment and computerise our processes to meet the growing demand we have from our nationwide fishbox customers."
Clive Rumbold from MotoScotland is an ambitious entrepreneur with a passion for bikes and beautiful scenery. In 2013 he set up MotoScotland - Scotland’s first and only off road motorbike training centre in a breathtaking location in Argyll bringing motorcycle tourism to the region. MotoScotland focus on improving riding ability and increasing confidence – saving lives by having fun. MotoScotland provide a unique experience for motorbike enthusiasts who are keen to experience an alternative to road biking.. MotoScotland aim to become a leading global brand in adventure tourism by blending elements of skills development, personal development and an exceptional tourism experience. With success to date in the Argyll location, MotoScotland are looking at ways of expanding the experiences they offer with on and off road tour packages, through setting up in new locations outside of Argyll and are exploring opportunities for partnering with other well known motorcycle brands to offer exciting new products to customers.
Clive said: “We are absolutely over the moon to achieve an award at this level, especially with only being open for one year. We are very keen to keep this momentum going by evolving everything we do to give our customers the best motorbiking experience of Scotland we can offer.”
- Hebridean Spa
Malcolm Macrae is the Founder of Hebridean Spa based on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. In 2012 he took the bold decision to leave a secure job and pursue his own business dream. Having spotted a gap in the market for natural Scottish Spa products, and with a background in industrial science and the use of seaweed, he decided to create his very own brand of organic seaweed face and body products called ishga with the help of his beautician wife. The name ishga is derived from the Gaelic word for water and the products are inspired by and sourced from the pure and natural elements of the Hebrides. Ishga is a luxury skincare range that celebrates the best of the Outer Hebrides blending the best of nature with the unique benefits of sustainably hand harvested seaweed. Malcolm is receiving extremely positive customer feedback via social media for his products and he has been recommended in publications such as the European Spa magazine, Red Magazine, The Sunday Mail and The Daily Express to name a few. Customers to date include Blythswood Square Hotel, Skibo Castle, Turnberry Golf Club, Loch Lomond Golf Club, Norton House and Auchrannie Resort.
Malcom said: “First I had to do a Dragon’s Den style pitch in front of a panel of eminent businessmen. It was a three minute investment pitch followed by five minutes Q&A and I got through to the final. The final was down at the RBS Conference Centre in Edinburgh in front of 300 people from the business community in the audience so it was quite nerve-wracking but I managed to hold my nerve for the 10 minutes I was on stage. So I’m very pleased I was successful. It’s a really good boost for us. We were doing well as it was but this cash injection into the company is a welcome boost. We are now going to move into new, larger premises in Stornoway where we can scale up production and we are looking to recruit a full time sales person and to recruit more people on the production side of the products too.”
- Kirsteen Stewart
Kirsteen Stewart has taken her unique brand of Scottish fashion from a kitchen table in Kirkwall, Orkney, to the fashion capital of Japan. Kirsteen Stewart is a surface print maker, retailer and fashion designer based in Kirkwall. She had a real passion for fashion and retail from a young age so in 2007 after finishing a degree in fashion, she started her own fashion retail business and opened The Studio Shop in Kirkwall in 2009. The Studio Shop stocks UK independent designers and makers filling a gap in the market for fashion conscious shoppers looking for a range of independent design wear in one accessible place. Seeing an opening to sell designs in her own bold and beautiful prints, she developed and launched the Kirsteen Stewart brand. Initially starting with a small range of accessories, the brand has since diversified into knitwear, silk and cotton scarves, statement jewellery, embossed leather bags and most recently a high fashion clothing line. All her designs are inspired by and designed in the Orkney Islands. All collections are ethically produced in the UK by manufacturing partners mainly in Scotland. Kirsteen Stewart products are currently stocked in 25 stores in the UK, another 12 internationally and in 2 department stores in Japan. Her customers include Camilla Parker Bowles, Lorraine Kelly, MTV’s Laura Whitmore and her designs have been worn by fashionista Alexa Chung.
She said: “I am over the moon to win the Scottish EDGE funding. It is a huge achievement and will enable us to employ further graduates, attend a trade show in London and Paris and develop new samples. The whole experience was great for me and my business from training right through to the final pitch it has given me invaluable skills which I will take forward for the future.”
More information on the Scottish EDGE and Young EDGE can be found be visiting: www.hie.co.uk/ScottishEDGE
The Scottish EDGE is delivered by Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise on behalf of Scottish Government, and in partnership with Entrepreneurial Spark, The Royal Bank of Scotland and Business Gateway.
The Young EDGE also benefits from support of Youth Business Scotland, Young Enterprise Scotland, and the Scottish Institute for Enterprise.