Four Scottish businesses with diversity and inclusion at their hearts have each been awarded £25k worth of commercial airtime from STV’s Inclusion Fund, which exists to make advertising more accessible to diversity-championing organisations within the Scottish business community.

Finalists of the STV Inclusion Awards presented the ways in which they actively promote equality, diversity and inclusion within their organisation, as well as with their business partners, to an expert panel of judges earlier this month. Working with STV’s Commercial team, the four winning businesses will now develop an airtime campaign to run on STV and streaming service, STV Player, within the next year.

The successful businesses are:

  • Dates n Mates – Scotland’s first friendship and dating agency run by and for adults with a learning disability. The organisation, which operates in Glasgow, Renfrewshire, Aberdeen, Falkirk and Stirling, believes everyone has the right to live a life free of discrimination and to develop friendships and relationships of their choosing.
  • Freedom One Life – Glasgow-based manufacturer of powered wheelchairs, from concept to production, which was founded by a powerchair user who experienced disappointment with the products that were available to him on the market at the time.
  • Molke – Scone-based manufacturer and retailer of ethical, supportive and comfortable non-wired underwear and swimwear. Founded by Kirsty Lunn, who is neurodivergent and used to struggle to find a bra that worked for her sensory needs, the company creates sustainable products and offers an inclusive size range.
  • MoneyMatiX – Edinburgh-based provider of innovative financial programmes for individuals, workplaces, schools and community groups, which offers tailored programmes that help migrants and ethnic minorities to improve productivity and financial wellbeing.

This year’s panel of judges comprised Femi Otitoju, STV’s diversity and inclusion advisor and managing director of the Challenge Consultancy, which supports some of the UK’s leading brands and organisations to develop inclusive practice; Evelyn McDonald, CEO of Scottish EDGE, a competition aimed at identifying and supporting Scotland’s up-and-coming entrepreneurial talent; Aarti Joshi, a marketing expert and transformational coach; and Mike Adams OBE, CEO of Purple, a disability-led organisation that highlights the value, contribution and advantage disability can bring to business and society.

Evelyn McDonald, CEO of Scottish EDGE, said: “It was a joy to judge the fantastic applicants for STV’s Inclusion Fund and to hear about the incredible work they are doing to ensure diversity and inclusion is embedded in their businesses. The opportunity to give free airtime to four worthy winners, allowing them to showcase their work to STV viewers, will give them the opportunity both to spread the word on what they are doing, and also give us all a chance to learn from their example.”

Danielle Kelly, Director of Strategy and Sales Scotland at STV, said: “Our inaugural Inclusion Fund Awards were a huge success, delivering real tangible results for our winners. We can’t wait to get working with this year’s businesses, all of whom impressed the panel with the innovative, inspirational and inclusive work that they strive to deliver. We’re thrilled that they’ll be on TV screens across Scotland later this year, bringing profile and greater awareness to consumers as an important part of their growth journey.”

STV’s Inclusion Fund was launched in 2021, and the four winning SMEs that year all received commercial airtime campaigns which delivered awareness, impact and significant web traffic increases, and helped to drive business growth.

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