ESS Start Up at #EDGE11

It seems like only months ago I attended the last Scottish EDGE Final, and in a sense, it was! Each round of this bi-annual funding competition comes around so fast that I hardly have time to excited about its return, yet I do.

Last week I attended #EDGE11, which as the name suggests, was Scottish EDGE’s 11th funding round. As usual, Scotland’s vibrant start-up community had come out in force to support the competition’s latest batch of impressive finalists.

Those of us who arrived for the first batch of pitches were rewarded for our early rise with a rare ‘in conversation’ segment featuring Sir Tom Hunter and Deputy First Minister John Swinney – both of whom agreed a that the sums of money they have given to Scottish EDGE is some of the most impactful they have ever allocated.

Host Mike Stevenson | Photo Credit: Sandy Young Photography

Our host for the day, Mike Stevenson of Thinktastic, did a fantastic job of guiding us through the event’s packed schedule with anecdotes of past winners and tidbits relating to Scotland’s Start-up scene.

The tone of the day was set early, with the first pitcher, Diane Teo of T30 Fitness, later being announced as a £50,000 award winner at the evening award ceremony.

Whilst the final as whole saw a high standard of pitching, one that seemed to strike a chord with most, if not all, of the audience was Anna Devvitt’s of Direct Devvitt – a business which facilitates SQA accredited comedy and confidence courses throughout the UK. Anna was later presented with the first ever Creative EDGE award, a special award introduced this round for Creative Sector businesses.

Anna Devitt | Photo Credit: Scottish EDGE

The award show itself held a few key highlights, beginning with the debut of Scottish EDGE’s user-generated footage campaign video in collaboration with 29 Studios, The Cutting EDGE, which captured the applicants’ journeys throughout the round, to a mesmerising keynote by David Duke of Street Soccer Scotland.

David’s detailing of his journey from homelessness to the creation of the now hugely impactful social enterprise, Street Soccer Scotland, was every bit humbling as it was inspirational.

David Duke | Photo Credit: Sandy Young Photography

David Shearer, Scottish EDGE Chairman, was on hand to deliver the ever-impressive Scottish EDGE impact data – now clocking in at 1,204 jobs created, £79.78m in addition turnover and £87.87m in additional investment.

The applications for Round 12 open online on 31st January 2018 and I can’t wait to see the next batch of finalists take to the #EDGE12 stage, which I hope will include some of the brilliant finalists who missed out on a winning spot this time, because as Scottish EDGE CEO Evelyn McDonald explained, over 50% of EDGE winners to date were awarded funding on their second, third, or fourth attempt.

Craig Jackson | Director

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