Fund of £38m pledged to support new firms and start-ups

The Scottish Government has unveiled a package of support for new businesses across the country.

Fund of £38m pledged to support new firms and start-ups Pixabay
Support package: £38m to help new firms.

The Scottish Government has unveiled a £38m package of support for new firms.

Economy secretary Fiona Hyslop announced the plans at the daily coronavirus briefing, saying they include £3m of grants of up to £50,000 for start-ups deemed to have the most potential for growth.

She also announced £25m for a new Early Stage Growth Fund which involves companies competing for up to £300,000 in grants and investment, with applications opening on July 20.

Hyslop said panels will be formed to choose the recipients of the funding, adding: “It will be a combination of identifying potential but also inviting those companies in those areas.

“I think that competitive edge will also make sure that challenge that we’re presenting will provide best opportunities for growth and jobs in these sectors.”

A total of £10m will also be given to Scottish Enterprise to support funds from the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB), which are aimed at topping up private sector investment in businesses to as much as 50%.

Hyslop also told the briefing that the funding, which will be allocated by Scottish Enterprise and its private sector partners, was allocated as part of a £230m stimulus package from the Scottish Government last month.

She said: “The package is another example of how we’re tailoring our support to best suit Scotland’s economic needs with schemes that are unique to Scotland.”

To continue to do so, Hyslop said, the Scottish Government will need more flexibility in its powers over fiscal matters.

Finance secretary Kate Forbes has joined with her counterparts in Wales and Northern Ireland to urge the Chancellor to allow greater powers over borrowing for the devolved administrations, as well as the ability to move capital budgets across to day-to-day revenue spending.

Rishi Sunak did not reference the request from the ministers in his announcement of £30bn of support on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Hyslop also announced a further £2.2m for grassroots venues, in addition to £107m announced in the past week from the Scottish and UK governments.

The cash, the economy secretary said, was agreed after discussions with the Music Venue Trust.

Nick Stewart, Scottish co-ordinator of the trust and manager at Edinburgh venue Sneaky Pete’s, said: “This provides a lifeline for venues like Sneaky Pete’s whose future hangs in the balance.

“With no income in the pipeline and no reliable timeline for opening, venues, staff have been distraught, especially as other enterprise or arts funding schemes were inaccessible to them.

“This will provide well-earned relief for these venues, and not before time. At Sneaky Pete’s we can begin to plan our recovery now, so that we can bring back music to our community who have really rallied behind us in an incredible way.”

Mr Stewart said the trust is “over the moon” at the announcement, adding: “We’ve been assured we can survive to eventually get back to making more paid performance opportunities for musicians.”