5 Small Business Grants in Scotland You Can Easily Apply For Today

by | Feb 24, 2022 | Finances | 0 comments

If you’re a business owner in Scotland working in tourism and hospitality, you’ll know that alongside your regular income, getting access to the proper business grants in Scotland is vital.

Without the support of a range of grant schemes, it’s all too easy for Scottish businesses to miss essential growth targets. There is also the risk to ignore a critical development project or business idea.

How Business Grants in Scotland Might Just be the Boost You Need!

Happily, several small business grants are available. These grants offer small businesses a valuable level of financial support. This article will outline five of the best small business grants that hospitality businesses like yours can access. 

Like the Scottish Growth Scheme, some of these business grants in Scotland can help with start-up costs and marketing expenses. Others on the Scottish Government website can help businesses affected by COVID-19 restrictions. 

So, from hospitality businesses to the creative industries, if you’re looking for a grant scheme to help bring your business plan to life, we’ve got good news for you!

1. Business Support and Continuity Tourism Fund (for Hospitality)

visit scotland website page

If you run your own business in the hospitality sector, the Business Support and Continuity Tourism Fund supports many companies, including those previously received help. It is well worth investigating.

Working with STERG, VisitScotland has put together a package designed to support:

  • Coach operators
  • Day tour operators
  • Hostels
  • Inbound tour operators
  • Outdoor / marine
  • Visitor attractions

The £9 million COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity Tourism Fund package includes £6 million from the £375 million in business support. 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon previously announced this funding and the £3 million repurposed from Phase 1 of the Tourism Recovery Programme.

Just How Much Money is Available?

The Scottish Government announced a further £7.5 million to support inbound tour operators who have previously received funding. 

Eligible businesses will receive a top-up payment of £6,800. This payment could offer your organisation a valuable business gateway to covering operational costs, investing in job creation, or even safeguarding the time needed to apply for other funding opportunities.

VisitScotland is committed to ensuring it’s as simple as possible for businesses, operators and event organisers to access the funding for which they are eligible, so it’s worth pursuing this one-off payment.

2. The Food and Drink Processing Grant

scottish government food and drink grant

The Food and Drink Processing Grant is a grant scheme available to food and drinks businesses in Scotland. Whether you are an independent producer or a customer-facing hospitality business, you could be eligible, and it’s worth applying.

This Scottish enterprise grant scheme contributes to the government’s overall vision for food and drink in Scotland to be a Good Food Nation. The concept is to produce, buy, serve and eat fresh, healthy food.

It allows you to apply for start-up business grants in Scotland if you’re a new food processing business or to apply for a one-off payment if you’re an existing food processing business. 

The funding can cover up to 50% of the costs of qualifying projects, including new equipment purchases, business expansion or relocation, and training expenses.

How can you use this Grant?

Specifically, the grant aims to fund eligible project costs for developing or creating food processing facilities, including buildings and equipment. Excitingly, it can also help you meet the goals in your business plan by supporting your non-capital projects too. You can get help to:

  • Market your products in home and export markets and attend national/international trade shows/fairs
  • Run co-operative ventures to retain more value by both farmers and growers
  • Improve supply-chain efficiency

It’s one of several single-year grant schemes designed to support small businesses in this sector; to be eligible, you must:

  1. Be located in Scotland
  2. Produce food and drink products
  3. Meet the Scottish Enterprise definition of a small business, which is a business with fewer than 250 employees

The food and drink sector can also help make Scotland healthier, wealthier and wiser, with stronger communities and socially and environmentally sustainable production.

3. EventScotland’s National Events Programme

tourism events funding programme

The National Events Programme, reopened by VisitScotland, is designed to deliver Scotland’s national events strategy (Scotland the Perfect Stage), bolster and support tourism and hospitality businesses, create jobs, and contribute to the broader recovery of tourism and events in Scotland.

The programme will support the development and delivery of live sporting and cultural events outside of Glasgow and Edinburgh to help drive domestic tourism and showcase Scotland as the ‘perfect stage’ for events. 

If you run an established hospitality company or a new business, this is the ideal opportunity to align your planning with some of Scotland’s most significant tourism initiatives.

What’s the Scope of the Funding?

Awards of between £2,000 and £4,000 are available for eligible organisers of community-focused events. Overall delivery budgets will be between £8,000 and £20,000 and will attract a minimum of 500 in-person attendees.

Larger-scale events that support the broader visitor economy and can demonstrate alignment with the national events strategy will apply for between £5,000 and £25,000. These events will have delivery budgets over £20,000 and will attract more than 1,000 in-person attendees.

On average, there are two funding deadlines annually for this award. 

Do you feel that your business could make effective links with other organisations? Can your company provide a range of relevant hospitality services? Or maybe your business has the potential to contribute to a strategic Scottish marketing initiative? 

This programme could be a fantastic opportunity for you!

Find out more about using Scotland funding to help market your tourism business.

4. Tourism Recovery Fund

visit scotland tourism recovery fund

From the smallest start-up to the most prominent organisation, COVID-19 has had a significant impact. Several schemes now exist to offer advice and support to companies and employees. Central amongst these various business grants in Scotland is a grant provided by the Tourism Recovery Fund.

What Does This Fund Focus on Providing?

With a focus on sustainability and selective regional assistance, this scheme aims to support tourism and events businesses by funding sustainability certification scheme providers. So, provided your business holds this certification, you could soon receive guidance and funding from this organisation. 

This level of funding, supported by the Scottish government’s commitment to sustainable tourism, enables businesses to think about developing their net-zero action plans and focus on carbon reduction activity. It also encourages zero waste schemes in association with Waste Scotland.

5. Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business Ventilation Fund

scottish government business ventilation fund

Last is a Scottish government-backed fund that aims to support small businesses in developing their facilities and services following the rapid spread of COVID-19. The Business Ventilation Fund is part of a grant scheme offering funding to help small and medium-sized businesses improve their ventilation and help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

How can I use this Award?

Businesses can claim up to £2,500 per eligible premises to recover the work costs to improve ventilation and air quality. This work could include:

  • installing carbon dioxide monitors
  • installation of new airflow systems
  • repairs to windows and vents
  • analysis and review of existing facilities

Support will initially target high-risk settings where people come into close contacts, such as restaurants, bars and gyms. The total funding package is worth £25 million, announced by the First Minister in September 2021


So there you have it; five small business grants in Scotland that you can benefit from, all available for hospitality businesses. Whilst not every grant the UK government offers is open all year round, they are excellent examples of regularly accessible funds and are excellent business gateway opportunities. 

Think there’s a fund here that suits your needs, but you’re not sure about the application process? Check out my post on getting tourism grants in Scotland. You will find more information on the benefit of applying and how this funding can boost your organisation.

Interested in learning more about how we can help you fill your calendar with DIRECT online bookings for 40+ weeks a year and make sure your customers become repeat customers?

Check out our Bookings Accelerator System, which has helped tourism or hospitality businesses across the UK fill their calendar with hundreds of thousands of pounds of DIRECT bookings at 0% commission.

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