Sir Tom Hunter

IN a Scottish EDGE first, some of Scotland’s leading entrepreneurs have committed an additional £1 million of grants and loans to the initiative, the UK’s biggest funding competition for potential high growth businesses.

Entrepreneurs supporting the initiative include Sir Tom Hunter, Kevin Dorren, Sir Brian Souter, James Watt, Lord and Lady Haughey, Chris van der Kuyl and Paddy Burns. The additional funding will be awarded in the next four rounds of Scottish EDGE.

Scottish EDGE supports Scotland’s most innovative, high-growth potential early-stage businesses with up to £150,000 in cash, which are made up of a combination of grants and loans.

It also provides a business support package that includes mentoring, support and signposting to alternative finance. It is awarded as a grant and a loan which is paid back into the fund to help fellow entrepreneurs on their pathway to success.

The fundraising comes after a report published by Oxford Economics, commissioned by The Hunter Foundation, indicated that radical and ambitious policy changes are required if Scotland’s economic performance is to be transformed and significantly boosted within the next 15 years. The aim of the report was to address issues such as low productivity, poor business birth rate and lack of success with scale-ups within Scotland that help to explain why Scotland’s GDP per head is a mere 44% of Singapore’s level, 48% of Ireland’s, 68% of Norway’s and 75% of Denmark’s.

As the report highlighted the need for the private and public sector to step up to support Scotland’s economic growth, the £1 million committed to Scottish EDGE was achieved in just two days. The entrepreneurs are committing between £100,000 to £500,000 each to the fundraising initiative which will primarily be in the form of loans. The pledges are as follows: 

Combination of grants and loans:

  • Sir Tom Hunter £300,000 in grants and £200,000 in loans

Loans:

  • Kevin Dorren £100,000
  • Sir Brian Souter £100,000
  • James Watt £100,000
  • Lord and Lady Haughey £100,000
  • Chris van der Kuyl and Paddy Burns, Chroma Ventures £100,000

Sir Tom Hunter, founder, The Hunter Foundation, said: “This is a classic case of high quality demand outstripping funding supply – we all need to step up, as entrepreneurs and Government. 

“As we look for ways to help solve the problem of poor economic growth in Scotland, it’s clear that early stage, high growth businesses will play a key role in driving this change – both in rebuilding the economy and providing employment opportunities. Scottish EDGE offers pivotal help in giving these businesses an opportunity to scale up and fulfil their potential.”

David Shearer, chairman, Scottish EDGE, said: “This is an unequivocal testament to the impact Scottish EDGE continues to generate in supporting the next wave of high growth potential businesses.

“It shows Scotland’s entrepreneurs are willing to commit where they know the outcomes impact positively on Scotland’s future.

“This commitment is very welcome and I hope stimulates further constructive debate within Scottish Government as to where and how it focuses its financial resources to maximise impacts for Scotland’s economic growth.”