There is a range of specialist grant assistance for Scottish businesses

There is a range of specialist grant assistance for Scottish businesses

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.

“There are over 220 different grant types available to small businesses based within Scotland”

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.

There are over 220 different grant types available to small businesses based within Scotland, covering everything from attendance at trade shows, R&D, innovation and internationalisation, and everything in between.

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 a collaborative projects leading to new technology or ideas
  • Are involved in research and development.

Listed below are a few key grant types that are available via Scottish Enterprise or Business Gateway; we’ve also included resources when you can view a complete list of all grants that are available to companies based in Scotland.

Key resources:

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. For all grants and funding information please click here.

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.

Grants available to Scottish businesses

Regional Selective Assistant (RSA) Grant

Who can apply?

Limited companies, sole traders or partnerships

Criteria:

  • Activity to take place within an assisted area in Scotland
  • Should directly create or safeguard jobs within your business
  • Should not be offset by job losses elsewhere
  • Should involve an element of capital investment
  • Be mainly funded from the private sector, including the company’s own cash resources
  • Be financially viable, make commercial sense and contribute to Scotland’s economy.

Research and Development (R&D) Grant

Who can apply?

Any businesses based in Scotland or planning to establish a business in Scotland

Criteria:

  • Dependent on the nature of the R&D
  • The creation or safeguarding of R&D jobs
  • Links into other local companies, perhaps for materials or specialist knowledge
  • Global market opportunity
  • The wider impact for society, including factors such as environmental impact, sustainability and health and safety. SE will not support projects which will have a known adverse effect on the environment and/or society.

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 can help support projects that aim to develop a pre-production prototype of a new product or process
  • Support is available at up to 35 per cent of the eligible project costs
  • Projects must last between 6 and 36 months, and the maximum grant is £600,000
  • The grant is paid quarterly in arrears and minimum total project cost is £75,000.

By Design Grant

Who can apply?

Your company must be based in Scotland, be VAT-registered, be developing or adapting a product or service, be able to finance at least 30 per cent of the cost, pay the project costs in full up front and demonstrate the benefits of the project. You must not have commissioned any work or have spent any money of the project activities that the grant would fund

What can it be used for?:

  • The grant is focused on companies that need help with branding, design and packaging. Specifically:
    – Sampling or minimal viable product design
    – Service design or manufacture-ready design
    – Formulation trials and focus groups
    – Recipe development
    – Packaging, prototyping or tooling
    – General branding can be covered by the grant but if so it must be part of a bigger innovation project with other design costs in the application.
  • The grant goes up to a £5,000 maximum in total value.

Make it to Market Grant

Who can apply?

It’s for companies based in Scotland, who are VAT-registered, who are developing or adapting a product or service and are able to finance at least 30 per cent of the cost, pay the project costs in full up front and demonstrate the benefits of the project. Companies must NOT have: commissioned any work or spent any money on project activities that the grant would fund.

What can it be used for?:

  • New projects when product is beyond research and close to market
  • Adapting an existing product to meet overseas regulations for a new international market
  • External expert advice on technical feasibility or product modification
  • Product-based market research, including development of samples
  • Intellectual property (IP), licensing and brand protection (excluding registration fees) – provided IP-related costs have an international focus, and make up no more than 50% of the total eligible project costs
  • Professional guidance on overseas contracts with suppliers, intermediaries or manufacturers
  • Translation costs relating to product adaptation and launch
  • Overseas travel costs, provided they do not make up more than 20 per cent of the total eligible project costs.

Workplace Innovation Grant

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.

VisitScotland Growth Fund Grants

Who can apply?

Scottish-based businesses who wish to do a collaborative tourism marketing campaign. VisitScotland wants to ‘work with businesses to help them build digital capability, market and measure outputs and success more effectively. We encourage applications for integrated marketing campaigns that will show visitors, through creation and promotion of inspiring digital content, that ‘Scotland is Now’.’

Criteria:

EventScotland funding programmes

Who can apply?

Scottish businesses developing events that will generate significant TV and media coverage and/or create significant economic impact for Scotland. Any events programme that plays an integral role in developing domestic tourism across Scotland. However, there is ‘no specific remit for supporting productions, conferences or exhibitions’

Criteria:

  • Funding is not provided for core costs but rather for ‘additionality’ or supporting new activity specifically designed to grow events
  • It can also be offered for marketing and PR costs, in order to grow the brand and reach new target audiences as well as enhancing media coverage
  • Funding may also be offered to improve the visitor experience of the event.

Specialist research and innovation grants available to UK businesses

Horizon 2020 Grant

Who can apply?

Groups applying for this award must include a university, college or other academic institution

Criteria:

  • Horizon 2020 is the largest-ever European Union (EU) research and innovation programme
  • It’s open to everyone and has an emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges
  • Horizon 2020 grants are normally made available as part of a specific call out for a particular business sector and partners from other EU countries are required.

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.

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