We regularly receive enquiries from MSPs and their staff on behalf of constituents looking for funding to either establish a new business or improve their current business.
There are a number of websites available that provide advice to those embarking on new business projects, as well as links to a number of possible sources of financial assistance. Here we detail the main sources of business support information.
FindBusinessSupport.gov.scot allows businesses to browse all of Scotland’s public sector support options in one place. There are support options listed on the website from more than 60 public sector partners across Scotland. This support includes advice, funding, networking opportunities, training, webinars and more. The selection changes daily as new services are launched, and old ones removed. It also provides the latest updates on Coronavirus support
Business Gateway is a publicly funded service providing assistance to people starting or growing their business. Their advisers can help those setting up a new business to find appropriate funding sources. They have a detailed list of resources that can be used in order to identify potential funding on their website.
Business Gateway is delivered by local authorities and has a network of local offices across Scotland. You can use the postcode search to find contact details for your nearest office. For example a list of business support services provided by Business Gateway working with the City of Edinburgh Council is available here.
Scottish Enterprise is Scotland’s national economic development agency. Scottish Enterprise works with a wide range of partners at national, regional and local levels, for example, VisitScotland, Local Authorities, Business Gateway, City and Regional Growth Deals and Community Planning Partnerships, to secure the alignment of strategies and resources behind the right opportunities. Some Scottish Enterprise activities operate across all of Scotland, including the Highlands & Islands and South of Scotland Enterprise areas, these being:
• inward investment and overseas market development via Scottish Development International (operating as a joint venture with Scottish Government and Highlands & Islands Enterprise) and including management of the network of overseas offices and field staff;
• major grants programmes, including Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) and SMART:SCOTLAND grants;
• the Scottish Investment Bank;
• the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service; and
• Scotland Europa.
Scottish Enterprise’s website identifies a number of funding opportunities that may be of interest.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise
If you live in the Highlands and Islands, Highlands and Islands Enterprise can help identify support and funding opportunities. Highlands and Islands Region includes: Shetland, Orkney, the Outer Hebrides, the inner Moray Firth, Moray, Argylle and the islands, Caithness and Sutherland, Inverness and Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross
South of Scotland Enterprise
South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) launched officially on 1 April 2020 as the Economic and Community Development Agency for Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council areas. SOSE provides support services for businesses, social enterprises and communities.
Scottish National Investment Bank
The Scottish National Investment Bank is a development investment bank, established and funded by Scottish Ministers. The Bank invests in businesses and projects connected to Scotland, or businesses seeking to move to Scotland.
Another website which provides information on funding options is mygov.scot, which is managed by the Scottish Government. Further information can be found here:
Funding from other organisations
It is worth bearing in mind that business finance is available from a range of sources, in addition to the Government, such as banks, business angels (private individuals, often with a high net-worth, and usually with business experience, who directly invests part of their assets in new and growing private businesses), crowdfunding (raising money from a large number of people who each contribute a relatively small amount, typically via the internet), family and friends. Some private and charitable organizations also offer funding to businesses. The full range of organisations is not listed here, but includes:
- This business finance and support finder provides a tool for finding UK Government publicly-funded sources of assistance.
- The Start Up Loans Company is a subsidiary of the British Business Bank and delivers the UK Government’s Start Up Loans programme providing finance and support for businesses who struggle to access other forms of finance.
- Virgin StartUp Loan Funding Virgin StartUp is one of the Delivery Partners of the Start Up Loans programme.
- Scottish EDGE is a competition aimed at identifying and supporting Scotland’s up-and-coming, innovative, high-growth potential entrepreneurial talent.
- The Prince’s Trust helps 11 to 30 year-olds to start their careers.
- VisitScotland provides tourism business funding opportunities.
- Creative Scotland has some industry funding programmes.
Crowdfunding websites may also be of interest as a way of raising funding, a few options are listed below. Please note that other websites are available, and SPICe cannot provide advice on which may be the most suitable for a particular business.
This list is just a sample of the available websites for sourcing funding for small businesses and small business start-ups in Scotland and is not comprehensive. However, the above sites will provide additional links to sources of funding and can act as a gateway to further information in this area.
Miranda Jackson, Enquiries Officer