South of Scotland businesses urged to realise benefits of innovation

30th July 2021

Scotmas is encouraging South of Scotland businesses to follow their lead and think innovatively, as the award-winning Kelso disinfection specialists create eight new high skilled jobs.

Scotmas teamed up with Robert Gordon University (RGU), through support from Interface, which resulted in the development of a new, innovative method of water disinfection without harmful by-products, suitable for use in drinking water, hospitals and food production applications worldwide.

The project led to Scotmas and RGU being presented with the ‘Innovation of the Year’ title at the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards in April 2021. The first of several units to be built using the technology left the company’s Kelso base earlier this month to enter service with a major water utility company in the Middle East, representing the start of a multi-million dollar sales pipeline for the company over the next five years.

Scotmas has worked with several academic partners since being introduced to Interface, which impartially connects organisations from a wide variety of national and international industries to all of Scotland’s universities, research institutes and colleges.

The business has taken part in eight collaborative projects with academia since the first project facilitated by Interface, including two Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) with Heriot-Watt University.

And now thanks to innovation support from South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), the company is planning to begin manufacturing of primary ingredients for disinfectants at its Kelso plant, with the creation of eight new high skilled jobs, taking the total number of jobs at Scotmas to 63.

Alistair Cameron, CEO of Scotmas, said:

“As a relatively small business, we need to be nimbler and more innovative than our multinational competitors.

“Scotland has an unparalleled academic base of knowledge that can help us do this, however it is sometimes difficult to know where to start. 

“The matchmaking service provided by Interface enables access to the wealth of specialist academic knowledge in Scotland.

“Our latest award is testament to what can be achieved when business and academia work together, and we look forward to these partnerships continuing for many years.”

Dr Siobhan Jordan, Interface Director, added:

“We have been delighted to support the team at Scotmas over the last few years by impartially sourcing academic experts to partner on the development of a range of new products and services.  It is extremely exciting to see the direct outcomes – creating new jobs and delivering international sales.

“We hope that many other businesses are inspired to consider what is possible through productive partnerships.”

SOSE is also working alongside Interface to encourage innovation in the South of Scotland.

SOSE’s Chief Executive Jane Morrison-Ross said:

“Scotmas’ work with Interface and academic partners is a fantastic example of how investing in innovation can benefit South of Scotland businesses and organisations.

“SOSE’s vision is to establish the South of Scotland as a centre of opportunity, innovation and growth, which is why we are delighted to be supporting Scotmas with the latest development of their company and the creation of new highly skilled jobs in the region.”

Notes to Editors

  • Scotmas previously received a grant from SOSE in 2020, which allowed the firm to retool and adapt their business to supply the growing demands for high level disinfectants.
  • As a result, 10 additional jobs were created within the company last year – all of which were filled by local people who had been made redundant.
  • Scotmas CEO Alistair Cameron is a member of the SOSE Board.
  • Alistair Cameron has built his career in the life and chemical sciences sector, growing a two person, home-based business to becoming a major local employer, exporting to 32 countries worldwide. Alistair strongly believes that investment in innovation, advanced manufacturing technologies and people development can lead to sustainable economic growth in the region. Alistair was previously the skills lead for Life & Chemical Sciences Scotland, helping to design new university and apprenticeship programs, and also served on the advisory board of Interface, helping to develop increased collaboration between Scottish universities and SMEs.