My Journey with Scottish EDGE

Calum Purdie

Calum Purdie

Technology and Life Sciences Ecosystem Manager

29 February 2024

The Scottish EDGE pitch competition has become a fixture of the business calendar in Scotland. Twice a year, early-stage founders from across Scotland are invited to apply and potentially win up to £100k in funding to fuel their growth ambitions. The competition has historic pedigree with previous EDGE winners including many Scottish business success stories such as Appointedd, Novosound and Amiqus.  

I attended my first EDGE competition back in 2015 and was immediately blown away the calibre of the businesses that were pitching. Over the subsequent years I have watched in admiration as the competition has continued to grow in profile and many notable alumni have come through its various categories and benefited from its support.  

Joining the Johnston Carmichael team in April 2023, I was excited that the firm was a close partner of the EDGE team and has been supporting the competition since its inception in 2014. Having seen first-hand the significant platform that participation in the competition could give to companies, I was eager to immediately involved and start working with the applicants.  

My work started as a member of the first-round judging team, to help review applications and feedback on who qualified to make it through to the live pitching rounds. I was extremely impressed by the quality of the applications as well as the diversity of the sectors and backgrounds that the applicants came from. I was looking at companies from sectors as diverse as food and drink, health and wellbeing, technology and consumer products. Thankfully, EDGE has a robust judging process and criteria to ensure that all applications has assessed fairly and against the same key requirements; value proposition, team, impact, customer focus, business growth and utilisation of funding. Over the course of a day, my fellow judges and I were able to agree on scores for each of our assigned applications and help determine who would be going through to the next rounds. 

Next came the practice pitch panels that Johnston Carmichael sets up and runs as part of our partnership with EDGE. Over the course of several weeks, myself and my colleagues facilitated a series of these mock pitch panels. The panels included guest judges from across industry who were experienced entrepreneurs and investors themselves. These experts were able to listen to the pitches and provide constructive feedback in a safe space ahead of the live finals.  

The practice pitch panels were offered to all applicants who made it through the first round of judging and, unsurprisingly, the take up was very high. It was very encouraging to hear the feedback from applicants about how useful they found the sessions and how they were able to build in some practical tips and advice ahead of the live pitches. We ran several of these sessions, both in person and online and even did some follow up rounds with those who wanted a final run through before the real thing.  

As I attended the live EDGE 22 final in November, I was both nervous and excited to see how the finalists we had been working with would perform in the live event. In the end I was blown away, the standard of the pitches on the day was extremely high and it was encouraging to see many of the founders incorporating some of the tips and advice they had been given during the practice sessions. I did not envy the final judging panel having to select their winners, but I was confident that everyone that had been pitching had done themselves and their company justice.  

I am very excited that Johnston Carmichael is continuing its support of the EDGE competition and am already looking forward to working with the next round of founders as they prepare for the pitch of a lifetime.  

If you have any questions about Scottish EDGE or would like to discuss any of the content in this blog any further, please contact me

Watch below our highlight video of Day 2 of the EDGE Round23 final! 

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