A company introducing sustainable farming practices using seawater to grow salt-tolerant crops was among those to win funding from the UK’s biggest competition for potential high growth businesses.
Scottish EDGE awarded Seawater Solutions £15,000 after it was named the top ‘Wildcard’ winner in the competition’s latest funding round. The Glasgow-based firm was one of three companies with Strathclyde links to be successful in round 15.
Hindsight Vision also received £50,000 to develop its invention of a new rear-view mirror tool allowing cyclists to be more road aware
Fiodh,a watch and lifestyle company run by Strathclyde Masters graduate in Product Design Michael Youmans, was one of the Young EDGE winners whose business was boosted by a £10,000 award.
All three companies have received support from Strathclyde Entrepreneurial Network (SEN), which works with staff, students and alumni to help realise their commercial potential.
Dr Olga Kozlova, Director of Innovation & Industry Engagement at Strathclyde, said: “The companies supported by SEN who were successful in the latest round of EDGE funding are a great demonstration of the strong commitment to enterprise at the University and within the wider Glasgow City Innovation District.”
Eighteen businesses took part in the finals on 3 December in Edinburgh with many more pitching in semi-finals and the Young EDGE and Wildcard EDGE competitions.
BBC’s Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis shared the secrets of his business success in a conversation on stage with entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter, whose Hunter Foundation is one of the key supporters of Scottish EDGE.
Over the last three years Strathclyders have received more than £1M funding from the competition - 16 per cent of the total awards – which supports Scotland’s most innovative, high-growth potential early stage businesses with up to £150,000 in cash.
It also provides a business support package that includes mentoring and signposting to alternative finance. It is awarded as 40% grant and 60% loan which is paid back to help fellow entrepreneurs on their pathway to success.
Seawater Solutions founder Yanik Nyberg completed an MSc in Environmental Entrepreneurship at Strathclyde. His agri-environmental company helps farmers redevelop their land in order to grow high yield salt-tolerant crops using seawater. Through saline agriculture and environmental engineering, the company is tackling climate factors such as irregular rainfall and rising sea-levels, and also creates artificial wetlands.
Yanik said: “Our recent win is a real validation of our work this last year both in the fields and in the office. We are very proud of our rapid growth recently and are now looking to expand across South Asia.
“The role that the University of Strathclyde and the Strathclyde Entrepreneurial Hub played in our success can’t be overstated. The support through personalised mentorship and access to external support networks was world class and we are truly grateful for the dedication of the team to our company’s development.
Recipients of awards are asked to pledge a minimum of one per cent of the funding they make if they successfully exit their business to back more entrepreneurs through the programme.