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Three funds aim to help self-employed and SMEs

Fiona Hyslop

Fiona Hyslop: ‘we must look to the future’

Grant funding for the newly self-employed and SMEs in distress will be available in the coming days.

Scottish Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop confirmed that a £100 million fund to support the self-employed and SMEs announced last week will comprise three separate funds as follows:

– £34 million Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund, managed by local authorities, will be allocated to those facing hardship through £2,000 grants

– £20 million Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund, managed by the Enterprise Agencies in partnership with Creative Scotland and VisitScotland for creative, tourism and hospitality companies not in receipt of business rates relief

– £45 million Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund, managed by the Enterprise Agencies for vulnerable SME firms who are vital to the local or national economic foundations of Scotland

The Scottish Government is also providing £1 million to top up Creative Scotland’s Bridging Bursaries in the not-for-profit sector.

Speaking in parliament, Ms Hyslop also confirmed that the grant funding will be open for applications by the end of April, and that recipients will receive funds in early May.

She said: “This funding is intended to relieve the hardship of individuals and smaller firms that are ineligible for support from the UK Government or are not in receipt yet of the funds they need to survive.

“Our hospitality, tourism and creative sectors have been decimated by this crisis and previously profitable businesses have seen demand dry up overnight.

“However, because of the decisions the Scottish Government has taken, thousands more self-employed people and small businesses will be able to benefit from support compared with elsewhere, and we have been able to help sectors of the economy that are not being supported in other parts of the UK.  

“As well as dealing with this immediate crisis, we must look to the future. We must ensure that those businesses with a part to play in strengthening resilience in Scotland’s economy survive this crisis and thrive in future, which is why £45 million is being allocated to those firms.

“We continue to engage with businesses on a regular basis to understand their needs and press the UK Government to deliver for them.”

Steve Dunlop

Steve Dunlop: Scotland’s economic development environment will look different (pic: Terry Murden)

Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise, Steve Dunlop, said: “This additional package of support will provide much needed funding to protect self-employed people and SMEs in distress. Applications for the funding will be open by the end of the month and the FindBusinessSupport website will be updated with all the relevant information for those seeking to access the funds. 

“While our priority has been to provide immediate support to those who need it most, we also recognise that Scotland’s economic development environment is going to look very different than it did pre-COVID 19.

“Only a collaborative approach will allow us to reset, restart and recover the country’s economy and we stand ready to assist in that partnership effort over the coming days, weeks and months ahead.”


The recently self-employed, who are excluded from the UK’s scheme but suffering hardship, will be able to receive £2,000 grants.

For creative, tourism and hospitality companies of up to 50 employees not receiving business rates relief, there will be rapid access £3,000 hardship grants or larger grants up to £25,000 where it can be demonstrated support is needed.

The support and larger grants for pivotal SME enterprises will depend on the specific need of the enterprise and be developed by the relevant enterprise agency with wraparound business advice and support.

See also

Virus may see Scottish economy shrink by a third

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