The last six months have been pretty tough, however, amid the gloom there have been a number of things that have happened that should be celebrated and the people behind them congratulated. One of them is undoubtedly Scottish EDGE - the UK's biggest funding competition for small businesses which supports Scotland's most innovative, high-growth potential start-ups.
Among the endless grim headlines in the spring of 2020 we got the news that Round 16 of Scottish EDGE was being paused. However, the Scottish EDGE team made sure it was a short pause and on 4 June we received the good news that Round 16 was back on.
This in itself was quite something as the majority of traditional funders were then only supporting their current portfolio. However, in addition to giving extensive support to their current portfolio with the challenging times that Covid-19 brought, EDGE went ahead looking for more businesses to support.
Paula Skinner pictured with 2018 Young EDGE winner Scott Dickson of Phox Water.
"A brilliant day"
Scottish EDGE soon got into full swing and we were fully involved in the competition. In September I was fortunate enough to be a judge at the semi-finals and a week or so later, our head of corporate Donald Munro judged the Young Edge Final and summed it up as being simply "a brilliant day".
Last week demonstrated what an agile organisation Scottish EDGE is, when live streaming replaced the Gogarburn Conference Centre for the finals and we now look forward to the awards ceremony later today. Hopefully you were able to see the businesses pitch at the finals as it was a superb demonstration of what Scottish businesses have to offer in all sectors, with founders pitching on everything from Scottish rum to human skin testing.
This is a key reason why Scottish EDGE should be celebrated and supported by all - because funding such a broad range of sectors is rather unique. At the heart of Scottish EDGE is the drive to find businesses that are going to make a positive impact on Scotland regardless of what sector they are in.
In addition, Scottish EDGE is one of the few organisations that truly has gender balance. For example, 60% of the Round 16 applicants had a female playing a lead role in the business compared to about 17% in UK venture capital deals. I do hope all funders look at the gender balance Scottish EDGE has achieved and aim for the same level of equality.
On the numbers, it is also interesting to note that Round 16 had 327 applications which was around a 45% increase on Round 15. Despite the big jump in the volume of applications, Scottish EDGE still managed to deliver the competition in a shorter timescale while at the same time having to rewrite the book on how to deliver the competition with Covid-19 restrictions. Achieving this with a handful of people in the team is nothing short of tremendous.
The EDGE Pledge
Scottish EDGE has always had values which were spot on, however, I think their Round 16 can-do performance and attitude really does deserve a big well done and thank you. With this in mind, I was absolutely delighted that Harper Macleod was able to donate funds at the end of September to Scottish EDGE as part of our Edge Pledge. The Edge Pledge is a mechanism whereby organisations can give back to help support the work that Scottish EDGE do and therefore help the entrepreneurial community that in one way or another helps all of us.
So tonight at the awards ceremony when we rightly celebrate and congratulate all the finalists, please do spare a moment to think about Scottish EDGE as when it comes to embracing entrepreneurial spirit Scottish EDGE is in a league of its own. You can view a conversation with Evelyn McDoanld talking about the positive impact of the EDGE Pledge online here.
Find out more about Scottish EDGE here - scottishedge.com
Get in touch
Having had a partnership with EDGE since its launch in 2012, sponsoring our own Harper Macleod Young EDGE award and also having advised Scottish EDGE since day one, we are well placed to advise growing businesses.
Please get in touch with us at [email protected] and we can help your business get the Edge.