Business Grants in Scotland - Complete Guide

Caroline Wire

Getting a business grant can be the key to launching your new enterprise, or taking your existing company to the next level. But what are the options when it comes to grants for starting a business in Scotland, or for business funding in Scotland when it’s time to expand?

This complete guide to business grants in Scotland walks through some of the best available business start up grants in Scotland, as well as grants offered to larger or more established companies. We’ll also touch on Wise Business which offers easy, low cost ways to manage your company finances, even when trading internationally.

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Table of contents

Introducing business grants

A business grant is a sum of money given to a business owner or entrepreneur, which does not need to be repaid later2. Usually business grants are offered to meet a specific need - for example, to cover the costs of registering a startup, for training staff, or to buy equipment for your company.

Business grant application processes can be competitive - but the good news is that there’s a range of business grants in Scotland for different business sectors and for varying types of businesses at different stages of growth. This guide covers tools and resources to find government business grants in Scotland, as well as grants issued by private and industry organisations.

How to find a business grant in Scotland

If you run a business based in Scotland - or if you’re planning a business project in Scotland which requires investment - you might be eligible for a grant, issued either by the local or national government, or a private organisation. Different grants cater to different business types and needs, and you’ll be able to search both for grants issued specifically in Scotland, and others which are open to anyone in the UK.

Start your search for a business grant online. There are great search tools on the Scottish government website3 for grants which have a focus on Scotland specifically, and the UK government also has an equivalent business finance finder tool, over on their website4.

What types of grant are available for small businesses in Scotland

So - what grants are available in Scotland?

Business grants can come in many different forms, including government issued funding, awards by industry or sector bodies, and charities. Grants are always issued with a specific aim in mind - this could be to increase employment in a particular area, to help under-represented groups set up a business, or to promote technology and innovation for example. This means that grants could be decided based on the sort of work your business does, where you’re based, or other factors like how long you’ve been operating.

We’ll walk through some of the common grant types in a bit more detail in a moment - but a good place to get some inspiration is the Scottish Enterprise website which has details of grants and funding calls for major awards5. Using this and the UK and Scottish government search tools we highlighted earlier can be a great way to get a feel for the support that’s out there.

What factors are taken into account when awarding small business grants in Scotland?

Individual awarding bodies have their own criteria for awarding business grants in Scotland. These can include factors like where you’re based, the sector you work in, whether you’ll use the grant to employ others, and the size of your company. While many grants have more of a focus on small, new businesses, there are also several options in Scotland for more established companies who need significant amounts of investment for capital projects or to expand. Let’s look at a few popular Scottish business grants as an example.

Start up grants in Scotland for young people

There are some really good options for your entrepreneurs in Scotland to get funding, and practical support or advice when starting a company6. Some organisations are focused on Scotland in particular - like Bridge 2 Business7 and the Scottish Institute for Business, while others such as the Prince’s Trust8 are open to all applicants in the UK.

The Prince’s Trust serves young people up to the age of 25, while other options like Bridge 2 Business are for students still in education. These organisations can offer grants, but also have frequent training and mentoring opportunities, bootcamps and competitions for young people to hone their business skills.

Innovation grants for small businesses in Scotland

If you’re working in research and development and need a grant for a feasibility study, the Smart Scotland programme9 is the ideal solution. Grants are offered for small and medium sized businesses with innovative ideas and their own intellectual property. There’s a particular focus on businesses which promote economic development in Scotland, boosting local employment and bringing more money into the area.

Regional support for small businesses in Scotland

Regional Selective Assistance funding is offered in Scotland for capital investments of 100,000 GBP or more which don’t fit into other funding categories which are covered by grants10. You’ll need to check your eligibility using the postcode finder tool on the Scottish Enterprise website, as this is funding which is very targeted to specific areas.

Training grants for small businesses in Scotland

Another common reason to apply for a business grant is to cover the costs of training - either for yourself or for people you employ. Training grants might be available through government bodies or charities - or you can check out apprenticeships and modern apprenticeships which are available throughout Scotland11. Modern apprenticeships are available for people aged up to 25, and can also offer rural supplements for people working in more remote areas, to cover the additional costs associated with travel.

What to consider before applying for a business grant in Scotland

If you’re going to invest the time in applying for a business grant in Scotland you’ll want to give yourself the very best chance of success. Application processes are often very competitive, so submitting a thorough and well thought through application is crucial. Here are a few pointers to get you on your way:

  • Double check all the eligibility criteria and requirements to make sure the grant is the right one for you
  • Clearly describe what the grant will be used for, including the impact it can have on your business, and the measurable difference it will make
  • If your grant requires match funding include details about where that money will come from as part of your application
  • Review and refresh your business plan, including the grant information, to show how succeeding in your application is an integrated part of your overall strategy for growth
  • Don’t wait until the deadline to submit your business grant application

Manage your business finances with Wise Business

If you’ve got global plans for your Scottish business, a Wise Business account can help.

Make it easy for overseas clients to pay you, with Wise account details in 10 currencies to receive money like a local from the EU, the US, Australia and beyond. Use your account to hold and exchange pounds, euros, dollars and 40+ other currencies, order linked debit or expense cards for yourself and your team, and get time saving features like multi-user access, batch payments, and cloud accounting integrations.

Wise has no ongoing account costs - and uses the mid-market exchange rate whenever you need to convert currencies to spend, send or receive a payment. The costs are low, and transparent - so you can spend less on fees and keep more of your profits for yourself.

Check out how one business is making the most of Wise Business in this Open Collective case study.

Ready to learn more about how to open a Wise business account in the UK? Here’s a quick overview:

  1. Download the Wise app or head to the Wise desktop site
  2. Tap Register and follow the prompts to apply for a business account
  3. Add your personal and contact information
  4. Upload the documents needed which are detailed online and in this Wise Business account requirements guide
  5. Pay the one time fee to register your account and get a linked payment card if you need one
  6. Once your account is verified you can start transacting - your account will be live in the Wise app, your physical card will be posted to you, and you can get a digital card right away for mobile spending

Take advantage of the great options for business grants in Scotland with this guide - you’ll need to do some research, but it can pay huge dividends with many different grants available to suit all business needs. Plus, check out Wise Business to help you save on currency conversion costs, and make managing your international business finances a breeze.

Get started with Wise Business 🚀

Sources used in this article

  1. Pricing/fees: Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information
  2. British Business Bank - what are business grants?
  3. Scottish government - funding search tool
  4. UK government - business finance search tool
  5. Scottish Enterprise - funding calls
  6. Scottish government - funding for young people
  7. Bridge 2 Business
  8. Prince’s Trust
  9. SMART Scotland grant
  10. Regional selective assistance funding
  11. Scottish government - apprenticeships and modern apprenticeships

Sources last checked on Apr 9, 2024.

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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