SIR Tom Hunter and Lord Willie Haughey have spoken about their delight in joining entrepreneurs in committing an extra £1million of grants and loans to Scottish EDGE, the UK’s biggest funding competition for potential high-growth businesses.

Sir Tom commented: “I’m over the moon. This was the Scottish business community rallying round and helping those on the first rung.

“Scottish EDGE has been going for some time but we wanted to scale up because we’ve seen since the pandemic more people thinking of starting or up-scaling a business.

“Scottish EDGE has created almost 2000 new jobs and we need to scale it up.

“We need to get behind new-starts and scale-ups. They’re the lifeblood of the Scottish economy.”

Lord Willie added: “I was delighted to say yes and help. Just over £16 million has been invested in helping start-ups and scale-ups and generated more than 2000 jobs. If you take that in a like-for-like basis with what Scottish Enterprise would look for in inward investment, that’s an unbelievable return. Their leverage is fantastic.

“That’s not having a go at Scottish Enterprise. We’ve been saying for weeks that on the conveyor belt that creates wealth in the country we must make sure all the parts are aligned and they’re joined and they’re working together.

“I’m trying to think of any other organisation you’d give money to and say: ‘Wow! That was a great return.’ So well done to CEO Evelyn McDonald and all the team at Scottish EDGE.”

Sir Tom added his own thanks to the people who supported the funding, adding: “I don’t know of any other business community in the world, who are maybe a few steps above this rung of the ladder, helping those who are coming behind. It’s brilliant... and it’s brilliant that it’s Scottish.”