In the “State of the Airts Address” we mentioned how humbling it was to reach the final of the latest round of the Scottish EDGE competition. Somewhere around 180 businesses from the length and breadth of the country applied and were whittled down to the top 60 for the Semi Finals. This was further cut to 30 for the final held on Monday the 16th at RBS’ Gogarburn HQ.
Between the EDGE and the Young EDGE categories a pot of £660k was distributed to up-and-coming businesses and entrepreneurs. We were fortunate enough to suitably impress the judging panel and successfully walked away with the maximum award of £50k.
The format was a 3-minute pitch followed by fielding 7 minutes of Q & A from a crack team of judges comprising of chair, Chris van der Kuyl of 4J Studios; Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, founder of Genius Gluten Free; Ken Barclay, RBS’s Chairman of Scotland; Paul Lewis from Scottish Enterprise; and, Sir Ewan Brown, chairman of Scottish Financial Enterprise and Governor at St Andrew’s University.
Our own slot was at the pleasingly precise time of 4:03pm. We sat in on the first session in the morning and took inspiration from the great early pitches by fellow ESparkers: James from Beer52, and Shand Cycles. Then it was back to Airts HQ to lock ourselves away (on the nicest day of the year) and practise, practise, practise.
Back to Gogarburn and the big moment. Apparently we acquitted ourselves respectably (although neither of us has much recollection of being on stage). Afterwards we managed to catch the final few pitches of the day. A brilliantly confident one from Andrew Dobson of design studio Made Brave and the always engaging Louise McCarron from Get2Grips with Grants.
Afterwards there was time to grab a refreshment, bite our nails, and enjoy the sunshine in the Gogarburn grounds. Once the awards ceremony started and the winners started to be read out by Gordon Merrylees the room was on edge (or EDGE). Before announcing each company and the amount they’d won, Gordon gave a brief synopsis of their business. It seemed quite surreal to hear him describe our business. The second and bigger shock was when he said we’d won the full amount.
It was fantastic to be included amongst the other winners that we know such as the amazing Mo from Mo’s Cookie Dough, Carol from Diary Dolls, Steven and Russell from Shand Cycles, Louise of Get2Grips with Grants, and Kevin from Hectares (who scooped up a Young EDGE award).
Through the EDGE process we’ve met some great people and great businesses and now the next step is really ensuring that we capitalise on this opportunity. We couldn’t have got this far without the support and encouragement of so many people. Thank you to you all.