Brose Oats expands business after Scottish EDGE success

Adam Hardie

Adam Hardie

Business Development Partner and Head of Food & Drink

A Scottish owned and operated oat milk producer has secured national distribution after embarking on a major expansion thanks to Scottish EDGE.

East Lothian-based Brose Oats has commenced a contract with the Cress Company that will see its products available in specialist retailers including farm shops and delicatessens UK-wide.

Josh Barton, CEO and founder of Brose Oats, won the inaugural food and drink category at Scottish EDGE in November 2023. In addition to taking the top prize of £100,000, the entrepreneur also received a package of advisory services including support from competition sponsor, leading UK accountancy and business advisory firm Johnston Carmichael.

Speaking ahead of Round 23 of Scottish EDGE, which takes place in May and marks the 10th anniversary of the awards, Josh said:

“Cash is king but the benefits of being a winner go beyond funding. The network, support and contacts that have become available are extraordinary – it is like becoming part of an elite club, a seal of approval that opens doors.

“At the time my objective was simply to get the prize money, but the extensive application process really helped me to sharpen my business plan, forecasting and timeline, and consider the resources required to get me from where I was to where I wanted to be.

“We had been trying to get investment for our current scale-up for three years prior to Scottish EDGE, but the only interest was from people who wanted to acquire us. Winning the top prize allowed us to access asset finance funding and opportunities that we wouldn’t have had. Even if there had been interest from retailers and wholesalers, we wouldn’t have had the production in place to deliver.”

Adam Hardie, Business Development Partner and Head of Food and Drink at Johnston Carmichael, helps to judge EDGE competitors’ pitches, and supports winners with business advice.

He said: “Since it was founded in 2014, Scottish EDGE has been a great facilitator of entrepreneurial young businesses. Brose Oats has a brilliant product, and Josh is a fantastic entrepreneur, but having a more commercial focus has changed his outlook as much as winning prize money has.”

In addition to securing national retail distribution, Brose Oats is building its food service network, supplying to Lomond Foods and attaining listings with the University of Edinburgh, Queen Margaret University, the University of Glasgow, and at Scottish Government sites. It is also served at Edinburgh’s landmark, five-star Balmoral Hotel.

In January, Brose Oats won a gold award in the drinks category at Scotland’s Speciality Food and Drink Show and has been named a food hero by workplace hospitality provider BaxterStorey.

Josh added: “During such an economically challenging time, when people will be thinking twice about starting businesses, it makes the work of Scottish EDGE all the more important – because we need new businesses, and creativity and innovation, for the wellbeing of our country.”

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