Edinburgh Business School incubator delivers 48 jobs and £1m turnover
Early-stage companies based in the Edinburgh Business School (EBS) Incubator at Heriot-Watt University have created 48 jobs and generated a combined turnover during their incubation period of £1,051,464, a new report reveals this month.
Since opening the facility in 2018, a total of thirty competitively selected startups have received specialist support to help them take their ambitions to the next stage.
From the world’s first flat-pack solar energy collector to exciting tech for cyclists and new ways of recycling food waste, a diverse range of businesses have benefited.
Milestones achieved over the first two years include:
- 12 patents filed, three granted and nine pending
- 48 new jobs created
- Eight firms trading during their time in the incubator - generating a combined turnover over this period of £1,051,464.
- More than 20 winners or finalists of awards, including Converge Challenge, Scottish Edge, HWU Innovators/Enterprise funds, WeDo Scotland and LiveWire.
- £293,000 of private investment secured
- £971,068 of funding secured from Innovate UK, Royal Academy of Engineering, RBS BackHer, Santander Emerging Entrepreneurs and other funders
The EBS Incubator provides a flexible provision for firms at a variety of stages of startup, from proof of concept through to early trading. Providing free desk space, training, workshops and mentorship on site, firms can also access support and enterprise development activities throughout the Scottish Universities network and the broader support community. Visa support is also offered for promising international applicants.
The next intake is likely to be January 2021.
Kallum Russell, Edinburgh Business School Incubator Manager said: “We are delighted with the results of our first two years of operation and it’s a testament to the talented businesses we work with - from sports fashion and business consultancy to those using technology for social benefit.
“During the unprecedented period, nurturing a sense of community has been especially important. The pandemic certainly hasn’t stopped our work - it means there’s even more of a need for entrepreneurs and details of how to apply to join our next cohort will be announced soon.”
Laura Galloway, Professor of Business and Enterprise at Heriot-Watt University added: “The range and variety of businesses hosted by Edinburgh Business School’s Incubator reflects our multidisciplinary approach towards entrepreneurship education and business support.
“Our programme is open to all startups regardless of their pre-existing links with the University, and the number and quality of applications we receive proves that there is a huge demand for early stage business support in Scotland.”
SolarisKit – flat-pack portable solar energy
Founder, Dr Faisal Ghani has recently secured funding worth circa £250,000 from Innovate UK and £90K from the Royal Society of Edinburgh to begin trials in Africa for the world’s first flat-packable solar thermal collector.
By focusing on the development of low cost, high value solar technology, his company’s goal is to lower global carbon emissions while helping to improve the lives of millions of people in the developing world.
Assembled in 30 minutes, the SolarisKit solar collector is small, lightweight and can be transported by bicycle or motorcycle - presenting a potential business opportunity for local entrepreneurs to start their own clean energy business with just a bicycle and trailer.
Labelled as “one of one thousand solutions to change the world” by the world” by the Solar Impulse Foundation, the business is also supported by the Scottish Enterprise High Growth Ventures programme.
Dr Faisal Ghani: “The EBS incubator has been invaluable community to be a part of during my entrepreneurial journey. Coming from academia, my contact with other business founders was limited which was isolating. Being part of the EBS incubator has allowed me to learn and share experiences with others who know exactly the challenges faced starting a business.”
Meander Apparel - design and manufacture of ethical outdoor clothing
Meander creates sustainable, technical clothing for everyday adventures. The range is designed to be versatile, fusing high performance fabrics with timeless designs for everyday wear. The first unisex collection was nominated as one of the Top 50 Newcomers of 2020 by ISPO Brandnew, which recognises the most promising startups of the sports industry and has already been supported and sported by the likes of Sir Richard Branson, Olympic gold-medal cyclist Callum Skinner and fashion designer Henry Holland.
Jill Henry, Meander Apparel: "The sense of community and support from the EBS incubator was invaluable in growing Meander through our early stages. We learned from top industry players, inspiring entreprepreneurs and reached an amazing network of support which we've kept with us and helped us achieve our first investment round."
SussMyBike - suspension tuning for mountain bikers
With its directors and inventors already active members of the Scottish biking community, this business helps mountain bikers tune their suspension more effectively and more quickly.
The company has created a product which analyses suspension performance and makes recommendations to the rider to improve control, refine response and increase comfort.
SussMyBike has already achieved its £28,000 fundraising goal on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform with a further £185k from a private investor. It has now set its sights on bringing in a total of £60,000 to further develop its technology via a Crowdcube equity raise early 2021.
Alan Mason, SussMyBike Founder: "Close collaboration is at the heart of how SussMyBike grows. Being part of EBS Incubator came at a crucial time for us and the community and coaching helped us flourish. We really felt that they had our growth and best interests at the heart of the Incubator. It's been invaluable to be part of a group of like minded individuals."
IMERAI - Enabling the next generation of interactive AI through echolocation
This disruptive Scottish startup company has developed a sensor that takes inspiration from a technique used by bats to see and understand the world using reflected sound instead of light, ensuring user privacy is protected by not capturing identifiable facial features.
Recent Heriot-Watt University graduate, Alex Bowen, founded IMERAI in 2018 - evolving his dissertation project into a business with support and guidance from the EBS Incubator.
Applications of this technology are wide ranging, including those in building occupancy monitoring, gesture control, autonomous vehicles, and defence.
IMERAI has now attracted sufficient investment to build a full engineering team with the addition of five new jobs.
Dr Ifeyinwa Kanu is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of IntelliDigest Ltd.
IntelliDigest is an ethical and responsible company on a mission to end food waste. They collaborate in research and develop innovative technologies that end edible food waste while converting inedible food waste to sustainable chemicals.
These sustainable chemicals are building block chemicals for other manufacturing processes such as circular packaging, detergents, cosmetics and advanced agriculture-hydroponics and cellular protein.
IntelliDigest has already secured contracts with leading hotel brands as well as product manufacturers demanding sustainable chemicals for their manufacturing process. They are also partnering with United Nations FAO and EIT Food to deliver independent capacity building training.