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£38m package

New support to prevent loss of Scottish ‘innovators’

Fiona Hyslop: ‘meeting challenges head-on’

New measures have been announced by the Scottish Government to underpin innovative early stage businesses.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop described the new funding as the most comprehensive and generous package of support available anywhere in the UK.

Managed by Scottish Enterprise, the £38m being made available includes three levels of support:

  • £3m allocated as grants of up to £50k plus advisor support for start-ups identified as having the most significant potential to grow and attract future investment
  • a competitive £25m Early Stage Growth Challenge Fund to provide successful applicants with a mix of grant and investment funding up to a maximum of £300k. This support will help equity-backed businesses to continue innovating through the pandemic and bridge the gap to their next investment round. The fund will open to applications on Monday 20 July
  • an additional £10m for Scottish Enterprise’s existing Scottish Investment Bank co-investment funds to help stimulate private investment and support businesses that need more significant levels of funding to grow rapidly  

Ms Hyslop also announced a £2.2 million fund for grassroots venues, following ongoing discussions with the Music Venue Trust. The new fund follows on from last week’s targeted £10 million to support Scotland’s performing arts venues.

Ms Hyslop said: “Scotland’s entrepreneurs and innovators have always fuelled the nation’s economic growth so we must support them now to ensure that their energy and ideas can deliver good new jobs and help us plot a path to recovery.

“The creation and growth of businesses in exciting emerging sectors such as life sciences, digital technologies and space create high value jobs and accelerate international investment in Scotland.

Early stage businesses have been impacted by a challenging investment market which restricts their ability to grow

– Fiona Hyslop, Economy Secretary

“The economic impact of COVID-19 has been enormous, and the Scottish Government has so far spent more than £2.3 billion in support. Early stage businesses are not immune to this and have been impacted by a challenging investment market which restricts their ability to grow, innovate and compete internationally.

“This new package meets these challenges head-on, providing young and innovative businesses with the most comprehensive and generous package of support available anywhere in the UK.

“There are also a number of areas where immediate support is required, including grassroots venues, and I hope this additional £2.2m funding will provide much-needed stability to the music industry for the coming months.”

Steve Dunlop, CEO of Scottish Enterprise, said: “This package is the result of insight gathered by the Scottish Government and Scotland’s economic development agencies through direct engagement with partners and companies operating in the early-stage high-growth market.

Steve Dunlop

Steve Dunlop: ‘removing financial obstacles’ (pic: Terry Murden)

“This field is home to many promising companies whose innovative products and services are aligned with our vision of a sustainable and inclusive economy. Pertinently, a considerable amount of them are immersed in work with the capacity to drastically improve the health and wellbeing of people the world over.

“We believe this additional funding from the Scottish Government will help remove the financial obstacles created by COVID-19 that threaten their growth. With our backing, we hope our early stage companies will fulfil their potential and bolster Scotland’s economic recovery while having a positive impact on businesses and individuals internationally.”

Nick Stewart, Scottish co-ordinator for the Music Venue Trust, said: “We are delighted to have agreed this funding with the Scottish Government, and we thank them very much for their commitment to grassroots music venues.

“This funding will stabilise venues in the short term and prevent permanent closures, and we can begin to plan towards reopening every venue safely.”

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