Regional success for spinout companies at UK Private Business Awards

Founders of Celtic Renewables, ZoneFox among winners 

Date posted

12 June 2017


Edinburgh Napier spinout companies were among the winners at the regional awards for the UK Private Business Awards.

Two founders of university spinouts - Professor Martin Tangney, founder of biotechnology innovators Celtic Renewables, and Dr Jamie Graves, founder of IT firm ZoneFox – were honoured.

Now in their seventh year, the UK awards - often referred to as the Diamonds - celebrate the best of UK private businesses and their contribution to communities and the UK economy.  The UK finalists are drawn from regional winners across the UK. 

This year’s Scottish regional winners, which had a strong focus on innovation, were celebrated at the exclusive PwC Private Business Awards dinner in Glasgow, where the awards were presented.

Dr Graves received an award for ‘Emerging Entrepreneur’ while Prof Tangney received his award for ‘Technology Innovation’.  The other award categories included CEO, High Growth, Private Business, Family Business, International, Rising Star, and PB Woman.

The awards were judged by a panel of business leaders and entrepreneurs and the Scottish qualifiers across nine categories will go forward for consideration at the UK final. The UK winners will be announced at an event at The Brewery in London in September.

Scottish head judge and PwC Director Thomas Clark said: "The Awards recognise the private business scene in the UK, which is not only the lifeblood of the economy, particularly in Scotland, but an exciting, innovative and dynamic marketplace.

"After a really tough judging session, the Scottish Regional Qualifiers for this year have now been revealed, and there are some fantastic stories behind these successful and exciting private businesses.”

Celtic Renewables are commercialising a process developed at the University’s Biofuel Research Centre (BfRC) which converts the residues of the whisky industry into an advanced sustainable biofuel. 

Receiving his Technology Innovation Award, Prof Tangney, Director of the BfRC, said; “This is a tremendous honour which reflects the skills and hard work of everyone involved in this initiative from its beginnings as a research project in the University to now being one of the most respected biotech companies in the country.”

Previous Scottish regional winners include Brewdog and last year’s Scottish qualifier, Skyscanner.

Susannah Simpson, partner at sponsors PwC and Private Business lead for the awards in Scotland said: “As we know, in Scotland the private business is the beating heart of the Scottish economy, so it’s only right that we have a chance to celebrate and praise the best in this sector.”

The first image shows Dr Graves and Prof Tangney, and the second shows Prof Tangney with PwC Director Thomas Clark