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Start-ups pitch in to win much needed funding

FIFTEEN Scottish businesses secured grants of up to £50,000 after making successful pitches in a Dragon's Den style competition.

The funds were handed out at the culmination of the final of this year's Scottish EDGE awards, run by Scottish Enterprise, which saw start-ups compete for a share of a £660,000 pot.

The final saw 30 Scottish companies make their case for funding before a judging panel at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Conference Centre at Gogarburn in Edinburgh. They each made a three-minute pitch following a seven-minute Q&A with the judges.

Sitting on this year's panel were Chris van der Kuyl, chairman of Entrepreneurial Scotland (ES), Ewan Brown, chairman of Scottish Financial Enterprise, Paul Lewis, Ken Barclay and Lucinda Bruce Gardyne, founder of gluten-free food brand Genius.

Seven companies secured grants of £50,000, including Hebridean Spa, a maker of spa products. It will use its £50,000 prize to employ a sales manager, move to larger premises and attend conferences to promote the brand in the US.

Technology firm Airts will use its £50,000 to employ two software engineers and invest in hardware, while Mo's Cookie Dough, which donates a percentage of its profits to projects helping vulnerable children, will hire a commercial director and operations assistant.

Six of the companies which won this year belong to Entrepreneurial Spark (E-Spark), the acceleration programme for early stage and growing ventures. The E-Spark start-ups walked off with £246,000 of funding.

Six cash awards were presented separately to young entrepreneurs aged 18 to 30 past part of the Young EDGE scheme, co-ordinated by The Prince's Trust. Ten grants ranging from £3,000 to £9,500 were presented under this scheme after 25 firms made pitches, judged by a separate panel.

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