Pet food firm has EDGE to land £50k

Grant will help busi­ness ex­pand

Blairgowrie Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Clare Damodaran

A Blair­gowrie-based busi­ness has won £50,000 from the Scot­tish EDGE fund in the UK’s big­gest busi­ness fund­ing com­pe­ti­tion.

Bella and Duke was one of 20 of the most in­no­va­tive start-up busi­nesses in Scot­land cho­sen from over 240 ap­pli­cants to pitch for the fund­ing and sup­port to help them de­velop their busi­ness.

Around half of the fi­nal­ists re­ceived a cash boost for their ven­tures af­ter mak­ing their pre­sen­ta­tions to an ex­pert panel of judges in Ed­in­burgh in De­cem­ber.

The money will en­able the pet food com­pany to in­vest in a new dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre on the out­skirts of Perth and other

in­fra­struc­ture such as its web­site and an app.

Bella and Duke is a monthly sub­scrip­tion ser­vice of­fer­ing species spe­cific, raw pet food di­rect to cus­tomers.

Mark Scott and Tony Ot­t­ley founded the com­pany af­ter three of Tony’s dogs got can­cer.

Mark ex­plained: “We did some re­search and felt that food was a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to the health of dogs and wanted to do some­thing about that.

“Chronic dis­ease is on the in­crease in dogs as well as peo­ple and our mis­sion is to get as many pets off pro­cessed food as pos­si­ble and on to a healthy species spe­cific raw diet.”

Com­ment­ing on their suc­cess in the fund­ing com­pe­ti­tion, Mark said: “It is bril­liant news.

“The pitch it­self went re­ally well, and I think the pas­sion the com­pany has for its prod­ucts came across, which is easy when you care about what you are do­ing.

“It was a re­ally good day and to come away with £50,000 was just fan­tas­tic.

“The fund­ing will al­low us to set up a new dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre and build our cus­tomer ser­vice team in our of­fice in Blair­gowrie Busi­ness Cen­tre, it’s very ex­cit­ing.

“We’ve got around 2000 sub­scribers at the mo­ment and are hop­ing to get closer to 3000 by the end of Jan­uary so this in­vest­ment will help us make that big push.

“We’re hav­ing a sale this month to get peo­ple’s dogs eat­ing right and to en­cour­age peo­ple who have never tried raw pet food be­fore to give it a go, and the EDGE fund­ing is al­low­ing us to do that in terms of be­ing able to buy more stock and la­bels and boxes to sup­ply to cus­tomers.

“We spent £13,000 just on boxes with our brand on them so this sort of in­vest­ment re­ally helps.”

He went on: “It’s nice to get a help­ing hand and some recog­ni­tion for what we are do­ing.

“For small com­pa­nies fund­ing of £20,000 or £30,000 can make a mas­sive dif­fer­ence, es­pe­cially when banks aren’t lend­ing to small busi­nesses.

“We have also had in­ter­est from other in­vestors on the back of this com­pe­ti­tion which is great.”

The com­pany is now look­ing to raise more money to de­velop a pro­duc­tion fac­tory later in the year for mak­ing the food, and is hop­ing to in­crease its turnover from £1.2 mil­lion to £3 mil­lion.

Mark added: “On be­half of the di­rec­tors, I would like to say a big thank you to the team - Claire, Sarah and Shona - who do a fan­tas­tic job, de­liv­er­ing ex­cel­lent cus­tomer ser­vice.

“They are the real he­roes - we have got so many great cus­tomer re­views which re­ally helps - and they are all pas­sion­ate about dogs which helps too. And thanks to all our cus­tomers as well.”

Tasty sum Bella and Duke co-founder Mark Scott with staff mem­ber Claire Wat­son

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