A TRANENT business duo who are behind the world’s first plant-based water bottle are in the running for £30,000 in business funding.

Jake Elliott-Hook and Amee Ritchie, both former Ross High School pupils and co-owners of S’wheat, have reached the finals of Santander Universities ‘Emerging Entrepreneurs’ programme.

The scheme is dedicated to supporting student and graduate start-ups and helps emerging entrepreneurs understand how to get the most from their business.

It also includes an educational experience led by a series of businesses and speakers including Lesley Stonier, founder of We Mean Business; and Jeremy Snape, former international cricketer and founder and managing director of Sporting Edge.

At the end of the programme, participants will pitch for one of eight places in the live virtual final, which take place on September 29.

If they get through that round, they will then pitch to a panel of judges and the two winning entries will receive £30,000 of seed funding each and a fully funded Santander intern.

The programme also includes a crowdfunding challenge where the businesses will have the chance to work with the team at Crowdfunder to create a campaign for their business and be in with a chance of receiving a cash prize of £6,000, alongside any funds they may have raised during the challenge.

There are 83 entrepreneurs participating in Santander Universities business acceleration programme.

Jake, a graduate of Queen Margaret University (QMU) at Musselburgh, and Amee set up S’wheat after developing the S’wheat bottle – a reusable double-ended water bottle made from a mix of plant materials.

Jake said: “It has been great getting to work closely with the team at Santander – their business support has proven to be very beneficial, especially during these uncertain times.

“Myself and Amee were thrilled to be accepted into the competition and we are both really excited to have the opportunity to pitch our company in the upcoming finals.

“The funding offered by Santander would allow us to expand our company, enabling us to develop a dedicated marketing team.

“Along with this, Santander would provide an intern who would also join our team and assist with videography and photography.

“We are both extremely grateful to have the opportunity to pitch our company to Santander and we are looking forward to the upcoming finals.”

Miriam Smith, business development manager at QMU, said: “We are immensely proud of Jake and Amee, and all they have achieved so far.

“S’wheat’s success exemplifies QMU’s collaborative approach to nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Matt Hutnell, director of Santander Universities UK, said: “We’re delighted to celebrate 10 years of supporting entrepreneurship with our dedicated new programme for student and graduate start-ups.”