A complete list of Scottish business grants

Here, we provide information on the Scottish business grants that could help your company grow and flourish

If your business is based in Scotland, you’ll interested to learn there are Scottish business grants that you may be able to access.

Grants are a type of funding provided by the government, local councils and some private organisations.

You don’t normally have to repay them. But you might have to meet some terms, for example a job creation target or deadline.

Grants are usually available to help ideas or businesses that will create jobs or develop new products, services or markets.

Grants are there to help you fund a specific project and will usually cover only part of the total costs involved, so you will need to provide match funding in most cases.

Furthermore, most grants are paid retrospectively which means that you’ll need to pay out money upfront and reclaim the grant money later.

Every grant will have a different application process, although there will be common things you’ll need to show, like how the grant will cover shortfall in funding and what other efforts you’ve made to raise funding.

The main grant funding available in Scotland is to help ideas or businesses that:

  • Will create social or economic benefits, for example job creation
  • Want to create collaborative projects leading to new technology or ideas
  • Are involved in research and development

Listed below are a few key resources where you’ll find multiple sources of funding.

Better Business Finance: A portal that provides impartial information and support to businesses and entrepreneurs looking to develop and grow. Use this search to find out exactly what grant funding is available to your business with a complete list of known grants in Scotland.

Scottish Enterprise: A non-departmental public body which encourages economic development, enterprise and innovation in Scotland. Scottish Enterprise’s funding model has recently changed. Most funding will be announced as funding calls – series of rounds that have fixed opening and closing dates. They’ll be aimed at helping businesses with specific projects. The following grant schemes are no longer taking applications: research and development, regional selective assistance, environmental aid. You can find funding opportunities on the Scottish Enterprise website.   

Business Gateway: Offers advice and guidance to start-up companies and established companies across Scotland. See this page for specifics on grants and funding.

Scottish government: Search for business funding and advice.

Creative Scotland: Creative Scotland distributes funding from the arts, screen and creative industries from the Scottish government and the National Lottery. Find out about their different funding programmes.

Interface: All Scottish SMEs are eligible for funding streams provided through Interface. Your business will need an academic partner to apply. If you don’t have one, Interface can find one for you. Click here to find out more about their funding.   

Zero Waste Scotland: Zero Waste Scotland has funding available to help move your business towards the circular economy and/or boost your recycling efforts.

Grants available to Scottish businesses

SMART:Scotland Grant

Who can apply?

Small and medium-sized businesses, university spin-outs or individuals that are based, or planning to be based in Scotland.

Criteria:

  • SMART:Scotland grants an support feasibility studies that help to show your idea could work in the real world. Your project will need to generate intellectual property (IP) that your business will own
  • Support is available at up to 70 per cent of the eligible project costs for small businesses and 60 for medium-sized businesses
  • Projects must last between six and 18 months, and the maximum grant is £100,000
  • Feasibility is paid with a third of the grant in an upfront instalment and the rest is quarterly in arrears

>See also: Intellectual property – how to protect yours as a start up or scale up

Workplace Innovation Grant

NB: The Workplace Innovation Grant is currently closed for applications. It’ll reopen in the new financial year.

Who can apply?

Scottish-based businesses who want to introduce innovative practices in their workplace

Criteria:

  • The fund can contribute up to £5,000 towards activities that will allow a business to introduce new and innovative workplace practices. To get the grant, the project must fulfil at least two of the following three criteria:- People: To support motivating staff beyond pay. For example, recognising the benefits of diversity, reward and supporting learning and development
    – Place: To support improving or maintaining a positive workplace culture, creatively use physical space to improve how employees work together, offer training associated with integrating technology which enables employees to share knowledge
    – Practice: To support work practices to become fair, responsible and improve productivity. For example, flexible working practices, creating self-managed teams and a culture of leadership and coaching.

Specialist research and innovation grants available to UK businesses

Innovate UK Grant

Who can apply?

Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency and is part of the UK Research and Innovation. Grants are available to any UK-based business or research organisation

What can it be used for?:

  • Research and develop (R&D) a process, product or service
  • Test your innovation ideas
  • Collaborate with other organisations

Scottish Growth Scheme

Who can apply?

The Scottish Growth Scheme is a package of financial support of up to £500m for Scottish businesses.

What can it be used for?

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Scotland can apply for:

  • microfinance loans of up to £25,000
  • debt or loan finance of up to £100,000
  • equity finance of up to £2m

Scottish Venture Fund

Who can apply?

The Scottish Venture Fund invests in companies from start-ups, early-stage to expanding businesses seeking funding to develop products and/or markets.

What can it be used for?

This fund is for developing products and/or markets. It can invest alongside sophisticated private sector investors on equal terms, up to a maximum of 50 per cent of the total funding package on a commercial basis. This flexible equity gap fund invests alongside private sector investors, offering equity funding from £10,000 up to £2m.

Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development

Who can apply?

The Open Fund is for individuals and organisations within the creative industries.

What can it be used for?

It has separate funding strands for individuals and organisations.

  • Funding available for between £1,000 and £100,000
  • The fund aims to enable individuals and organisations to explore ways of working that will help them to adapt and respond to the current changing circumstances
  • The overall budget for the Open Fund for Individuals and the Open Fund for Organisations totals £7.5m of National Lottery money
  • The fund is open all year round, with no deadlines and can support activity for up to 12 months.

NESTRANS Sustainable Travel Grant Scheme

Who can apply?

Applications can be made on behalf of:

  • Any business or other organisation, including charities, not for profit and public sector agencies, based in or operating in Aberdeen or Aberdeenshire
  • A specific workplace or section within such a business or other organisation
  • Commercial or public service premises (not a private residence) currently attracting visitors or customers by car

What can it be used for?

NESTRANS supports development of travel plans in Aberdeen City and Shire. Applicants can bid for up to £10,000 in matched funding to support sustainable transport initiatives.

Scottish Edge

Who can apply?

Scottish EDGE is ‘a competition aimed at identifying and supporting Scotland’s up-and-coming, innovative, high-growth potential entrepreneurial talent’.

What can it be used for?

Winners can receive up to £100,000 in funding plus a business support package to help them make the most of any grant money.

The main categories within which awards are made are: Science and Tech, Creative, Social Enterprise, and Circular Economy businesses.

Forestry Grant Scheme

Who can apply?

Any size of business.

What can it be used for?

This scheme is focused on providing financial support for businesses involved in the creation of either new woodland spaces or the sustainable management of existing woodlands. It is managed by the Scottish Rural Payments and Services agency and Scottish Forestry.

Small Innovation Grants Scheme

Who can apply?

Open to SMEs in the Highlands and Islands. The award of this funding is discretionary, with priority given to innovation projects that are directly responding to the Covid-19 crisis.

What can it be used for?

This grant scheme is administered by the Highlands and Islands Enterprise agency, which is based in Inverness. The agency can offer grants of up to £15,000.

It could be a health-related solution, or something that helps other businesses get back to work –whether through diversification, use of technology, adapting business practices to adjust to the changing economic environment or developing new products to continue to trade.

Culture & Business Fund Scotland

Who can apply?

Scottish social enterprises.

What can it be used for?

The CBFS is managed by Arts & Business Scotland, an independent charity. The fund offers pound for pound match funding for eligible projects of between £1,000 and £40,000 (excluding VAT) and is available across two tiers:

  • Smaller funds of between £1,000 and £3,000
  • Larger funds of over £3,000 and up to £40,000

Its aims are to encourage businesses to sponsor arts and heritage activity within Scotland while building new business sector partnerships over a minimum two to three-year commitment.

Fife Financial Support to Businesses

Who can apply?

Fife’s financial support covers businesses in the area looking to invest and grow.

What can it be used for?

The fund amount is up to 70 per cent or £10,000, whichever is the smaller cost. It’s fully repayable and must be paid back over an agreed period except for some small funds which are a mixture of repayable and straight grant funded support.

Funding is intended to be used for measures like product development and property improvements as well as training and market development.

Workforce Upskilling Grant

Who can apply?

Companies in Fife looking to improve the productivity and profitability of their business through staff training

What can it be used for?

This scheme will give you at grant of up to £2,000 if you’re looking to improve productivity and profitability through staff training. The Workforce Upskilling Grant can be a 100 per cent contribution – so if the total cost of the training is £2,000 or less, they’ll cover the full amount.

Orkney Islands New Business Start Up Grant

Who can apply?

Your company must be based in Orkney and employing fewer than 50 people in total. Applicants must be developing a new start-up business and build a full-time sustainable enterprise.

What can it be used for?

Orkney Islands Council fund the New Business Start Up Grant and can give you £500-£1,500.

The council is looking to target tourism, food and drink, renewable energy, lifeline local service providers and community-based social enterprise companies. Franchise businesses are also eligible.

West Dumbarton Business Start Up Grant

Who can apply?

This grant is for people in West Dunbartonshire to get up to £500 support.

What can it be used for?

Business start-up costs.

Flexible Workforce Development Fund

Who can apply?

Available to all of Scotland’s employers who pay to the UK government’s apprenticeship levy.

What can it be used for?

The Flexible Workforce Development Fund (FWDF) helps businesses continue to invest in their workforce.

Useful link: – Looking for funding? Find the right finance for your business here

Read more

150 UK small business grants to apply for right now

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