In our four-part business funding UK overview we are looking at the various options for businesses around the UK. In this article, we are looking at Business Funding Scotland.

When it comes to growing a small business, it’s tricky to know where to start looking. The first option is to talk to the local government or council business department. They can often advise on any locally supported grant scheme that can help your business. They are also a great place to find out more about how the local government supported business enterprise team can help and advise on a whole range of business activities – including finance and funding options.

In Scotland, you could start by searching for information and contacts around the mygov.scot website. There are links to the likes of The Scottish EU Funding Portal which allows you to search for EU funding available to businesses in Scotland.

There are also grants available – these can be a good source of finance but can be a lengthy process with possible caveats in the form of targets or further job creation. You are more likely to receive grant funding if you are bringing in a new idea, product or service to the market.

You should apply for a grant before any work has started to take full advantage of the available funding. Usually, however, grants are paid retrospectively which means you claim the money back once the project is complete, meaning you may have to outlay the finance yourself, to begin with. This may not be ideal for many businesses needing the cash quickly. Take a look for business grant aid in Scotland for more options. There are several grant options currently available for Business Funding Scotland.

• Regional Selective Grantshttps://www.scottish-enterprise.com/support-for-businesses/funding-and-grants/growing-your-business/regional-selective-assistance-grant

• R&D (Research and Development Grants) – projects that are leading the way in innovation and will improve the Scottish economy may qualify – https://www.scottish-enterprise.com/support-for-businesses/funding-and-grants/growing-your-business/research-and-development-grant

• SMART Scotland Grants – up to £100k and up to 70% of the eligible costs could be available to SME’s and small businesses based on their size and qualification. https://www.scottish-enterprise.com/support-for-businesses/funding-and-grants/growing-your-business/smart-scotland-grant• Horizon 2020 – these grants are for groups of individuals, businesses and organisations who are working collaboratively on a project in Scotland. Apply while we are still in the EU. http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/desktop/en/funding/index.html

• Make it to Market Grant – suited for businesses that are looking to export into international markets. https://www.scottish-enterprise.com/support-for-businesses/funding-and-grants/growing-your-business/make-it-to-market

• Innovate UK offer an innovation loan up to £1 million for taking a product to market – more details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/get-a-game-changing-idea-to-market-apply-for-an-innovation-loan. These loans are more suited towards projects that are in the later stages of development.

• The Business Growth Fund was set up to offer businesses and entrepreneurs funding and strategic business support. As an independent company, they have £2.5bn to support a wide range of business to help them scale and grow. They have helped hundreds of companies across the UK with funding. https://www.bgf.co.uk/

Non-Bank Funding for small business within the retail and hospitality sectors.

Merchant Cash Advance in Scotland – ideal for businesses who take credit and debit card payments. The funding is repaid each time the company makes a sale via their card machine. Ideal for restaurants, cafe’s, hotels and many other retailers. Otherwise known as a business cash advance this type of UK funding is a flexible way for businesses to find finance quickly. Apply here

Business Funding Scotland – other options

You may of already approached a high street bank with a request for funding.  Although they have tightened their lending over the last few years it may still be possible to get the funding you need.  The process can be, however, a much longer process than most of the alternative lenders in the market.  Using our sister website Capalona, you can search many lenders in one go for the best business loan solution.