Sir Tom Hunter and the co-founder of BrewDog are among the Scottish entrepreneurs to have pledged £1 million to a funding competition for potential high-growth businesses.
The additional funding will be awarded in the next four rounds of Scottish EDGE, which supports innovative companies with up to £150,000 cash in a combination of grants and loans.
It comes after a report published by Oxford Economics, commissioned by The Hunter Foundation, suggested radical and ambitious policy changes are required for Scotland’s economic performance to be significantly boosted within the next 15 years.
Sir Tom, who has given £300,000 in grants and £200,000 in loans, said: “This is a classic case of high-quality demand outstripping funding supply – we all need to step up, as entrepreneurs and Government.
“As we look for ways to help solve the problem of poor economic growth in Scotland, it’s clear that early-stage, high-growth businesses will play a key role in driving this change – both in rebuilding the economy and providing employment opportunities.
“Scottish EDGE offers pivotal help in giving these businesses an opportunity to scale up and fulfil their potential.
“Start-ups are good but scale-ups are great – they move the economic dial.
“Scottish EDGE’s track record speaks for itself and scaling it up is, in common parlance, a no-brainer.”
Loans to the tune of £100,000 have also come from Kevin Dorren, Sir Brian Souter, Lord and Lady Haughey, Chris van der Kuyl and Paddy Burns, and James Watt of BrewDog.
Mr Watt said: “Scottish EDGE is imperative to the development and growth of our future leaders and underpins the fundamentals of innovation, the foundation of which is continuous learning.
“Entrepreneurs take risks, are wildly ambitious and have unwavering faith in the impossible.
“By bolstering these programs, Scottish EDGE is able to provide strategic allocation of resources while creating value for the not yet imagined.”
David Shearer, Scottish EDGE chairman, said: “This is an unequivocal testament to the impact Scottish EDGE continues to generate in supporting the next wave of high-growth potential businesses.
“It shows Scotland’s entrepreneurs are willing to commit where they know the outcomes impact positively on Scotland’s future.
“This commitment is very welcome and I hope stimulates further constructive debate within Scottish Government as to where and how it focuses its financial resources to maximise impacts for Scotland’s economic growth.”