Seal de­ter­rent scoops £100,000 prize

Fish Farmer - - United Kingdom News - Above: A sealFENCE system is in­stalled in a site near Portree; Be­low: Chris Hyde from OTAQ with Sir Tom Hunter

A COM­PANY pi­o­neer­ing a high tech seal de­ter­rent has won a £100,000 prize in a Scot­tish in­no­va­tion com­pe­ti­tion.

The Scot­tish Edge awards, aimed at iden­ti­fy­ing and sup­port­ing Scot­land’s up-and­com­ing in­no­va­tive and en­tre­pre­neur­ial tal­ent, in­vited Oban based OTAQ to pitch at the fi­nals of the event in Ed­in­burgh in June where over £1.27mil­lion in grants and loans was awarded.

Com­mer­cial direc­tor Chris Hyde led the firm’s pitch on its launch prod­uct, a de­ter­rent system called SealFENCE which uses un­der­wa­ter acous­tic tech­nol­ogy to pre­vent seals from at­tack- ing sites. 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.

Hyde 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.’

Eve­lyn McDonald, CEO of Scot­tish EDGE, said: ‘We’re ab­so­lutely de­lighted to be able to sup­port OTAQ as part of our eighth com­pe­ti­tion round.’

She said the judges were im­pressed with the high stan­dard of the pitch and see great po­ten­tial in OTAQ’s prod­uct.

Sir Tom Hunter, renowned Scot­tish en­trepreneur and phi­lan­thropist, said: ‘Some 100 per cent 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 crea- tors 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.’

Hyde added: ‘The en­tire Scot­tish Edge ex­pe­ri­ence has been in­valu­able. The process and feed­back from the judges has re­ally made 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.’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.