By Daniel Hunter

Hundreds of Scottish entrepreneurs and small businesses are set to get a £3.2 million boost to their business plans from the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and The Hunter Foundation (THF).

Styled as a Dragon’s Den competition for ambitious entrepreneurs, scotedge.com was established to support some of Scotland brightest new businesses to realise their growth potential. So far, 69 businesses have secured funding helping their turnover grow by £5m and creating 120 new jobs.

The existing Scottish Government commitment of £2.35m will be enhanced by this investment and managed by a new charity - enabling additional fundraising - with an independent board of Trustees to manage the cumulative £5.55m allocated up to 2017.

In turn scotedge.com will immediately convert the current pure prize award into a 50/50 loan and prize combination in order to move towards sustainability going forward and to look beyond the 2017 timeline.

“Success will fund success, fellow entrepreneurs will reinvest for the next entrepreneur in line, it’s a near perfect model,” said Sir Tom Hunter, chairman of THF.

As well as that development, recipients of scotedge.com will benefit from a range of extended support services, participate in a leadership education programme and become part of a Scottish entrepreneurial alumni initiative. Any business that doesn’t qualify for financial support will in turn be supported to further develop their business with a view to reapplying for scotedge.com.

Ross McEwan, Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive said: “It is the drive and dynamism of Scotland’s entrepreneurs and small businesses that will help secure Scotland’s future economic prosperity.

“That is why as Scotland’s leading business bank we are delighted to announce this further support. The fund is a brilliant example of collaboration, bringing together some of the key players in the business community to help kick start some of Scotland’s most exciting, new growth businesses.

“Hopefully this new funding will help turn many more innovative ideas into growing, thriving businesses, and ensure the Scottish enterprise eco-system continues to flourish.”

Finance Secretary John Swinney said: “Our people are our greatest asset and it is crucial, perhaps more now than ever, that we see their economic potential unleashed.

“In 2012 the Scottish Government acted on this and established the Scottish EDGE fund to further our unique heritage of entrepreneurship, inventiveness and innovation. Thanks to support from Sir Tom Hunter and from Ross McEwan at RBS, I am delighted that the EDGE fund will continue until 2017 with enhanced investment.

“The EDGE fund is a first rate example of our Scotland CAN DO commitment to becoming a world-leading entrepreneurial and innovative nation. Through our work with public, private and third sector partners we have created a real team Scotland approach, with a shared ambition of a continuing entrepreneurial revival.”

Sir Tom Hunter, chairman of THF, said: “Building growth companies in Scotland is fundamental to our economic and social future. This development neatly converts a government led initiative to a private sector led programme of support, if you will ‘for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs’ and cements an excellent public private partnership. If one word summed up scotedge.com its ambition - we need to stretch our businesses, aim for high growth and internationalization; Scotland leading the world and that’s where we should be.”

Applications are now live at scotedge.com for the next round of funding and will close on 1st October.

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