Pet food firm has EDGE to land £50k
Grant will help business expand
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