Financial support schemes for newly self-employed workers and close-contact businesses such as hairdressers and driving instructors have opened for applications.
Grants worth £4000 will be available through a self-employed hardship fund and a scheme for mobile and home-based businesses unable to trade because they require close contact between people.
The Scottish Government has allocated £60m to the two funds and urged anyone who could be eligible for support to apply.
Finance secretary Kate Forbes said: “These new funds will support harder-to-reach businesses and newly self-employed people across Scotland as we continue to focus our efforts on helping those who are not captured by UK Government schemes.
“We’ve committed more than £3bn to support businesses and protect jobs during the pandemic, and I would encourage all those affected to check what support is available to help them through such a challenging time.”
To be eligible for the Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund, which paid out more than £11m last year, applicants would have become self-employed on or after April 6, 2019, and before March 17, 2020, and therefore do not qualify for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).
Alternatively, those who became self-employed between October 1, 2018, and April 6, 2019, but are ineligible for SEISS due to being unable to prove 50% of income came from self-employment can apply for the grants.
Only Scottish residents with trading profits below £50,000 in the financial year 2019-2020 who have lost business income due to coronavirus restrictions are eligible.
Owners – rather than employees – of businesses such as tattoo and piercing salons, driving instructors, hairdressers, massage therapies and alternative medicines including homoeopathy can apply for the Mobile and Home-Based Close Contact Services Fund.
The business has to operate either at the owner’s home or on a mobile basis more than 50% of the time.
The funds will open for applications for four weeks, although the government has not said when it expects money to be paid out.