The University of Strathclyde has scored three wins at the Scottish EDGE pitch competition for businesses.
There were awards of £80,000 to Rostra Therapeutics, a life sciences company spinning out of Strathclyde, and BGR Training, a sports and fitness goods start-up founded by Business School alumnus David White. There was also a £10,000 award to tea and coffee company Caribbean Goods, founded by Business alumnus Javier Gutiérrez Abril.
All three companies have received support from Strathclyde Inspire, the University’s flagship entrepreneurship programme, which offers entrepreneurial training and opportunities to every student, staff member and alumnus.
Hundreds of high calibre applications were received by Scottish EDGE, the UK’s biggest funding competition for high growth potential businesses. The winners were announced at a ceremony in Edinburgh on Thursday 9 June.
Dr Olga Kozlova, Strathclyde’s Director of Innovation and Industry Engagement, said: “Strathclyde is excited about the diverse range of companies that we are supporting doing so well in the national programme like ScotEDGE.
“This demonstrates that our staff and students embrace entrepreneurial culture of the university and we will continue to support them on their entrepreneurial journey.”
Rostra Therapeutics’ goal is to develop medicines to tackle serious fungal infections, a group of diseases that effects over a billion people annually and kills more than 1.7 million people every year globally.
John Mulgrew, Rostra’s Chief Operations Officer, who gave the winning pitch, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen from such a talented group of finalists. The Scottish EDGE award will enable Rostra Therapeutics to move into our next stage of preclinical development.
“To develop these molecules into medicines, we will continue to seek to partner with other organisations who share our vision, and we seek investment from those who likewise wish to bring new, effective medicines to patients.”
BGR Training is launching its first innovation, The BGR; a versatile, compact, and adaptable three-in-one fitness tool that enables anyone to workout anytime and anywhere. The BGR is the world’s first retractable and portable gym that includes bars, grips and rings.
The company is continuing to innovate by creating sensor technology that will transform the BGR to become smart and connected with next-gen AI coaching capabilities. BGR Training is a Strathclyde Inspire start-up business.
David said: “EDGE funding is an absolute bonus that allows me to start the second round of BGR production straight away, creating inventory to sell at Christmas - the most important season for fitness equipment sales.
“The next step is to go for growth and I'm in talks with investors to help scale production, develop the BGR brand, and accelerate the development of our fit-tech solution that will prepare the company for the future of fitness”.
Caribbean Goods is a Glasgow-based specialty green coffee importer from Guatemala, which presents its coffees in gift boxes. Javier blended his engineering and finance knowledge with his passion for great coffee; his goal is to become the UK’s most prominent importer of green coffee from the Caribbean Region – and to continue to bring great coffee to small and medium-sized businesses in Glasgow and the rest of Scotland.
The company tells the story of its products through 360 videos, posted on its website, showing the lives of the Guatemalan coffee farmers it works with.
Javier said: “As an international entrepreneur, I am positive that winning Scottish EDGE is one of the most remarkable milestones I will accomplish in my life. The money will be used to fund the first set of boxes, get the equipment needed to finalise the product, and hire a digital marketing expert to join the team and change the world with us.
“More than the money, the network and support provided by Scottish EDGE are what excites me the most.”