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Business Grants available to Scottish businesses

  • Thread starter Scottish Business Owner
  • Start date
Scottish Business Owner

Scottish Business Owner

New Member
Whether you're starting a business or are an existing business it's important you know what type of business grants may be available to your business. I thought I would create this thread so that we can create some sort of central place that has this information. Feel free to post links and descriptions to grants that may be available :)

If we can try and keep the post just to links etc unless you feel you're question is really relevant. Dont be offended if we move your question to a new thread in order to keep this thread on topic.

Link below is my starting point. This talks about RSA funding and SMART. Probably not that relevant to start up businesses but I think still a decent resource.

We'll make this a sticky as well :p
Paul Padaruth

Paul Padaruth

New Member
Hi all,

I'm an investment manager with Scottish Enterprise. Happy to answer/signpost on any queries in relation to RSA, Seed, Co-investment, venture fund or Scottish Loan Fund. Please note that with the exception of RSA, these are not grants.

In relation to post above, RSA can be very useful as part of a funding package for start ups and should not be discounted.


Scottish Business Owner

Scottish Business Owner

New Member
Just a note that the above scheme has been extended to March 2013!!!!!

Flexible Training Opportunities gives Scottish businesses with up to 100 employees the opportunity to apply for up to £5,000 towards employee training costs.
Enhancing employees' skills will bring real benefits to your business including improved productivity and a stronger more confident workforce.
We've detailed a list of the types and levels of training that are eligible for support. These are:
Qualifications including individual units
Learning based on National Occupational Standards
Industry recognised qualifications
Supervisory and management training
Taster sessions
Funding is available for up to 10 employees per business and the money is not a loan so there's no need to pay it back. We will refund up to 50% of each episode of employee training up to a maximum of £500 for each employee.
For example, if an episode of training costs £1200 excluding VAT, we will refund £500. If it costs £300 excluding VAT, we will refund £150.
How to apply

Download the Flexible Training Opportunities Application Form (It's attached below :p). Included in this document are help notes for completing the form and a rules and guidance section.
Once you've completed the application form please save your changes and send it to the following email address:
If you need assistance please call our free helpline on 0800 783 6000

And a link > Skills Development Scotland - Flexible Training Opportunities


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New Member
Shamefully there is not a cent available in Shetland unless you want to go down the route of a private business loan at silly rates, there's very little support available either but that doesn't put all of us off. I started my business using fabrics and sewing machines I already had and an expenditure budget of 0, advertising budget of 0, wage budget of 0, dug my heals in, used every form of social networking I could find to shout about and advertise my business and 4 months down the line the quality of our products is achieving a name for itself among the higher class of hoteliers within Scotland and England & we are now regularly working on large orders.


Robert Frost

New Member
Yes I looked into Shetland as somewhere to do my hotel, but it proved to be way out of my price range. I've managed to just about self finance but it has taken me years to get to the stage of being able to buy somewhere to convert/refurbish into my business


Active Member
Does anyone have experience of applying for funding from these schemes? Do they make you jump through hoops?
Tog Porter

Tog Porter

Ayrshire Web Design
I have applied for and been awarded several grants for different businesses from different sources over the years.

Each body has their own way of doing things, but in all cases a sound business plan is needed to start with. Some bodies have their own preferred format for this, and will send you a template with the application forms.

Once the business plan and application form (which can be extremely extensive) have been submitted, you may be asked further and in-depth questions, often at an interview. They will want to be convinced that you know your business inside out and have allowed for every contingency. I once had an interview which lasted four hours. Sometimes after that you will be asked to submit a revised business plan and/or further information (e.g. bank statements, certified accounts etc.)

Getting grant funding is never easy, and neither it should be, as the funding body needs to ensure that their money is being well spent.

They may also want business updates at regular intervals and it may be a condition of funding that you supply access to your accounts and bank statements on a regular basis.


New Member
Does anyone have experience of applying for funding from these schemes? Do they make you jump through hoops?

Many years ago - when I was under 25! I applied for funding from the Prince's Trust... Time served at my trade, solid business plan all laid out, was putting my life savings into the project etc. I got nothing. And bear in mind that I was brought up the son of a single parent in one of the most deprived areas of Europe, to which I had returned after completing my training, and where I was setting up a business.

In the waiting room at the interview (in the middle of a freezing March) there was this wee Windsoresque blonde with her skirt half way up her @*** and her not inconsiderable 'Erthas' out on display; the daughter of one of the cleaners at the University I'd started out at. She wanted £2500 for a car so she could set up as a 'mobile hairdressing' business. - This despite the fact she had absolutely no professional background or training and her experience of hairdressing was 'cutting her pals' hair' (this I know from her mother). She got the money! - And spent (what would then be about half-a-year's wages for a clerk) on a fortnight in Spain and an old banger. The hairdressing business never happened! It was never going to!

More recently I was brought in as a consultant on a charity-based recycling project (which I cannot name for legal reasons, but wish I could!). I bailed out when it became painfully apparent the whole thing was a regulatory shambles. It was essentially a family-run 'rag and bone' business, set up as a charity to circumvent various regulations, access cheap premises, subsidised labour, and claw-in whatever grants it could; money was going home in carrier bags at night with the ridiculously entitled 'CEO' - along with all the (strangely laptop) computers belonging to the business. When I tried to introduce a computerised stock control/POS system I was met with the most ridiculous obstruction. Conditions at their original premises were such that the staff didn't even have proper toilets! At one point I found a worker (a vulnerable person) washing his hands in a deep puddle!

- About the time I hit the ejector seat, OSCR moved in and shut them down. It wasn't just me, but another person - who they'd discriminated against - blew the whistle on them. Not before though they had secured grants in six-figures as well as soft loans to secure million-pound premises! - Which are now closed down again!

It's not always the case by any means. But too often I see grants, loans and free publicity going to the wrong people.

If you can get something out these organisations, go for it. But in the 30+ years I've been in business (unless you count standard rates relief) I've never been able to access a brass penny - either in cash or kind - by way of help or assistance. And in the early days I wasted an awful lot of time and energy trying. In fact I'll go so far as to say I've always found the organisations behind these things quite cliquey and at times even deliberately obstructive...

Tog's quite correct about the process as it should run and maybe often does. Really, the process should be little different from seeking a business loan on a commercial basis.

What I say to anyone is make your plans stand up on their own on a commercial basis - if you can attract a grant, fair enough; but plan in such a way as you can go ahead without any such help. Because - even if you're a prime candidate - there is never a guarantee with these things. You should have a business case that (if necessary) will support a commercial loan; if there are then softer options by all means try to access them. but prepare for the worst-case scenario.


New Member
Staff member
Personally it annoys me that the politicians - right across the spectrum - keep showering the business world with invisible money each year when the budget is announced. So many million here, so many million there, but I have never seen a penny in all the time I have been working for myself. I have seen people turned down for small amounts of funding when in reality a successful business will create a tax inflow (and reduced benefits bill) for the government of many times the loans people ask for - lets not forget this is tax payers money, not some politician dipping into their own pocket as they might sometimes insinuate!