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Young Gledfield Disillery entrepreneur Ciara Bow has the edge after winning major business funding award

By Caroline McMorran

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A young Sutherland entrepreneur’s hopes of setting up her own distillery have been given a major boost after she won an award in Scottish Edge - the UK’s biggest business funding competition.

Twenty-four-year-old Ciara Bow, Ardgay, who is working towards establishing Gledfield Distillery, has won a Young Edge round 20 award, giving her £10,000 in grant funding.

Ciara Bow has won a prestigious Young Edge award. Picture: Janis Hedley Photography
Ciara Bow has won a prestigious Young Edge award. Picture: Janis Hedley Photography

Ciara said: “I honestly can’t believe my luck. The funding is going to be essential to help with start-up costs. Since I began my business journey nearly one year ago, I have dreamed of winning in this competition. I never thought it would actually happen!”

Scottish Edge is a national funding competition aimed at identifying and supporting Scotland’s entrepreneurial talent. It consists of three competition categories - Scottish Edge, Young Edge and Wild Card Edge.

Young Edge is designed to support companies whose directors are all aged from 18-30.

The competition is delivered twice a year and is funded by the Hunter Foundation, the Royal Bank of Scotland, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and private donors.

Ciara scooped the award after making it through a first stage assessment process before pitching her business idea. She impressed the judges with her ambition to bring craft distilling back to Sutherland with her family’s age-old botanical spirit recipe.

Her great-great-grandmother Marjorie Macbeath was one of the last illicit distillers in Ardgay in the 1800s. She lived on a croft and distilled her spirit using botanicals which she had access to.

Ciara studied engineering at the University of the Highlands and Islands and distilling with the Institute of Brewing and Distillery.

She then went on to secure a role in the whisky industry, before deciding to follow her dream of resurrecting a craft distillery at her home in the Kyle of Sutherland.

She is currently in the process of securing premises to realise her ambition and her hope of bringing employment and tourism benefits to the area.

It is not the first award Ciara has won - she took the top prize earlier this year in the UHI Inverness Business Competition, winning £1,000 with a combined legal and accountancy package.

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