Government grants for small businesses in Scotland

David Kelly applied for a range of grants for his pre-revenue social business platform Shareflow. He tells about them.

What was the main grant you went for?

The main one was the Starter for 6 grant, part of a start-up and investment programme for creative industry entrepreneurs in Scotland, organised through the Cultural Enterprise Office in Glasgow.

I heard about it via word of mouth and the internet. The grant is aimed at the creative industries and I felt my company matched the criteria so I applied.

How did you apply?

It was a multi-stage process; the first part was to submit a business plan and respond to a set of questions about the business, and then a certain number of people are invited to pitch live. The pitch is a ten-minute presentation on the company and why you feel you would benefit from the scheme.

They were looking for a business that was viable, sustainable, would potentially create jobs in the future, and had some potential for good growth. They were willing to support lifestyle businesses too.

How much did you get?

I got £10,000 which is the maximum they give away. There were 100 people that got through to the first pitch stage, and this group was whittled down to 36. Those 36 attended a course which happened over a period of four months, a monthly workshop which lasted a day, and the group would learn different things about setting up a business. That would culminate in a final pitch, and in that pitch we had to explain what we would use the money for.

That meant going out and getting quotes for legal help and things like trademarking, logos, developers to help with the software, and designers, services I would be spending the money on.

We had to specify what we were going to spend the £10,000 on, and it’s not just for working capital, there needed to be a structured plan.

Any advice for businesses interesting in the grant?

I would get in touch with Starter for 6 and find out if you’re eligible because you can waste a lot of time filling in forms and then find out you don’t fit the criteria.

What other Scotland-focused business grants did you apply for?

I also recently took part in the Scottish EDGE Fund pitches, which gave out £540,000 in grant funding to start-ups in Scotland recently.

This was a three-stage competitive business plan and pitch process. I reached the semi-finals, and was within five places of the final 20, 17 of which each received between £10,000 and £50,000 in grant funding from Scottish Enterprise.

In March, I’m getting financial (roughly £750 value) and other support from UKTI and Scottish Development International to take Shareflow to the SXSW Interactive festival in Austin, Texas. It’s going to be a showcase of emerging technology and it will be a great chance to network and connect with industry figures.

See also: A complete list of Scottish business grants

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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Business Grants

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