Companies developing a blood test for the early detection of brain cancer and the world’s first wireless unblocker have won combined business funding of £340,000 after vital start-up support from the University.
Scottish EDGE, a competition to identify and support Scotland’s up and coming business talent, has awarded a record £1.8 million to 24 companies, including seven supported by Strathclyde Entrepreneurial Network (SEN).
SEN supports the University’s innovations through enterprise, entrepreneurship, commercialisation and investment, as well as working with staff, students and alumni to realise their commercial potential.
Almost 20 per cent of Scottish EDGE'S latest round of funding went to companies it has helped, including to ClinSpec Diagnostics, which won the Higgs Edge award of £150,000.
The Glasgow-based firm is aiming to provide the world’s first cost-effective blood test for early detection of brain cancer using novel, infrared sample-slides and diagnostic software.
Chief scientist Matthew Baker, who has worked at the University since 2014 and is a Reader in Chemistry, said: “We are delighted to receive this recognition and Scottish EDGE award, which as well as funding our clinical work will help us develop the business in other ways to create new revenue streams.
“We would also like to thank SEN for providing invaluable help and advice to new-start companies such as ours.”
Technology company Pyramid Wi-Fi which is developing the world’s first wireless unblocker through a tiny WiFi box providing a simple, inexpensive and lawful way to unlock your internet connection, was also awarded £60,000.
Another SEN start-up, Teqnox, which produces innovative body protectors for horse riders, was given £50,000 and Estendio won £50,000 for its Present Pal app, the first ever of its' type to support the needs of people with dyslexia.
A publishing company which produces adult colouring books and flashcards as educational aids was also among the success stories. Colour Academy Publishing secured £10,000 of funding in the Young EDGE category.
Among the ‘WildCard ‘winners were bodyweight and functional fitness training company BGR Training and WashR, whose goal is to encourage takeaway hot beverage drinkers to switch to reusable cups, were both awarded £10,000.
As the UK’s largest business funding competition, Scottish EDGE has so far awarded more than £11 million, with prizes given as a 40 per cent grant and a 60 per cent loan, with a maximum award of up to £150,000.
The loan is paid back to help fellow entrepreneurs on their pathway to success. Both the Young EDGE and Wild Card EDGE awards are grants of up to £15,000.
Heather Asiala from SEN said: “It’s incredible to see so many of the companies supported by the University of Strathclyde recognised by the awards and we wish them every success going forward.
“Strathclyde has always had a strong commitment to innovation, having supported the formation of more than 260 start-up and spin-out companies to date.
“The start-ups recognised in this recent round of EDGE are a testament to the strong entrepreneurial culture we are cultivating here at the University.”
Earlier this month, Scottish EDGE announced a £1m increase from Scottish Enterprise and £200,000 has been set aside for two additional prizes of £100,000 each. These will be awarded in March 2019 to existing Scottish EDGE winners who are seeking funding to scale-up or develop internationally.
Evelyn McDonald, Scottish EDGE CEO, said: “As an organisation collaborating with others to make Scotland the best place for business, finding ourselves in the position to support so many inspiring entrepreneurs is an incredible outcome.”