OTAQ,has been announced as one of the biggest winners of the Scottish Edge awards, with a prize of £100,000. The competition, aimed at identifying and supporting Scotland’s up-and-coming, innovative and entrepreneurial talent invited OTAQ to pitch at the finals of the event in Edinburgh this week where over £1.27million in grants and loans was awarded.
Commercial Director Chris Hyde led the firm’s pitch on their launch product, an innovative new deterrent system called SealFENCE which uses unique underwater acoustic technology to prevent seals from attacking marine fish farming sites.
Seal and sea lion attacks currently cost the fish farming industry over US$1 billion dollars a year worldwide as seals attack marine salmon farms for food, especially in the winter months. OTAQ’s innovative system provide a solution to the growing problem.
From 239 original applicants, just 22 of Scotland’s most promising entrepreneurs were invited to pitch their businesses to an expert panel of judges in order to win up to £100,000 each in grant funding and loans. Just 15 of the start-up and growth stage businesses were successful with only OTAQ and two others awarded the full amount applied for.
Chris Hyde, commercial director, OTAQ, said: “This award is going to make a major difference to our company and will mean that we can accelerate our export plans significantly, introduce our product to more markets and recruit more staff this year.
“Our company vision is to become world leaders in aquaculture technology and specifically in acoustic products such as predator control and monitoring systems. Our key area of expertise lies within underwater acoustics and sonar and we intend to build a reputation as experts in this field within our industry.
Gordon Merrylees, Scottish EDGE board member and Head of Entrepreneurship at Royal Bank of Scotland and Natwest, commented: “the Scottish EDGE has had a huge impact on Scotland’s economy, with our alumni having generated an additional £31.80m in turnover, secured £28.36m in additional investment, and created 641 jobs since receiving their Scottish EDGE funding and support.”
Sir Tom Hunter, renowned Scottish entrepreneur and philanthropist, said: “100% of the net new jobs in the UK will come from businesses less than five years old – the winners at Scottish Edge are the job creators of today… We need to invest in them and nurture them in any way we can to build our economy and to provide the quality jobs our people deserve. We need to build a far greater pipeline of high growth businesses if Scotland is to succeed, Scottish Edge is one critical element of that pipeline and I commend all the entrants – not winners yet – and the winners for their commitment to building great entrepreneurial businesses.”
Chris Hyde of OTAQ, added: “The entire Scottish Edge experience has been invaluable. The process and feedback from the judges has really makes us focus on our business and how best to communicate what it does; this has put us in very strong position for achieving our vision.”