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Emerging firms arrive on accelerator scheme

A HANDFUL of emerging international businesses have relocated to Scotland as part of a national entrepreneurial project.

Companies from as far afield as China, Iran and Nigeria arrived in the country this week for a 12-month accelerator scheme.

Entrepreneurial Spark, in partnership with the UKTI's Sirius programme, will aid the 13 start-up firms' national and international development.

The teams will be hosted at hatcheries in both Edinburgh and Glasgow over the next year.

Jim Duffy, chief executive at Entrepreneurial Spark, said: "We are delighted to welcome these teams to join us in Scotland, and the level of interest we've received from across the globe helps cement our feeling that Scotland is a really great place to launch a business.

"Our existing businesses being supported through the program-me are all excited to meet the global teams and will provide a strong network for collaboration and idea-sharing."

Among those selected to take up residence in Scotland is a team of three Mexican entrepreneurs who are hoping to aid the development of blind and visually-impaired children.

Their product, named Smash-a-Ball, is a toy which is intended to improve the cognitive functions of youngsters who are unable to do so through sight. The trio will now try to grow their business idea in Scotland - which has seen a 10 per cent increase in the number of blind and visually-impaired children since 2006.

Co-founder Pedro Bori said: "The biggest problem with our business prospects in Mexico is that no one really cares about helping young disabled people.

"But in the UK, there is a family of groups, such as RNIB, who work with blind and visually-impaired children.

"We have been to places such as London but we feel that Scotland will provide us with a better environment and better opportunities to grow."

Romanian firm City Air features three Edinburgh University graduates, Cosmin Dumitrache, Alexandra Ionita, and Ion Emillan Rodoi.

Their plan is based on establishing a city-wide network of mobile air quality sensors to provide an insight into the air pollutants at street level.

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