Support for business

Grants and loans


If your business needs short term cash flow support a loan scheme is to be set up to support primarily small and medium-sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% of a loan and businesses will be able to secure 12 months interest free repayments.

You should talk to your bank or finance provider as soon as possible and discuss your business plan with them. The scheme will be available from the week commencing 23 March 2020. Further information is available on the British Business Bank website.

Further funding

Business Hardship Fund

As part of its response to COVID-19, the Scottish Government is making grants available to businesses closed or impacted due to the COVID-19 Brake Restrictions which came into effect on 9 October.

These new and temporary business support funds will be administered by The Highland Council, providing one-off grants to businesses very directly impacted by the restrictions implemented on 9 October.

As part of its Coronavirus Restrictions Fund, the Scottish Government also has another grant scheme called the Business Closure Fund. This grant scheme is only open to businesses that are required by law to close, in the following health board areas:

  •  Ayrshire and Arran
  • Forth Valley
  • Greater Glasgow and Clyde
  • Lanarkshire
  • Lothian

Highland based businesses are therefore not eligible to apply for this grant.

More information

Events Industry Support Fund

The Events Industry Support Fund provides financial help for businesses in the events industry who have been ineligible for the various funding packages announced by the Scottish Government following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).

A new £6 million fund developed in consultation with the Event Industry Advisory Group (EIAG) and administered by VisitScotland will go live on Monday 31 August at 12 noon

The fund is open to businesses in the events industry, and particularly those in the supply chain, that can demonstrate events in Scotland are their primary source of income and have not received funding from any other Scottish Government sponsored COVID scheme. Successful applicants will be eligible to receive a one-off grant of £10,000.

Full application guidance and eligibility criteria to establish whether your business is eligible is available on Visit Scotland's website.

Third Sector Resilience Fund

The Third Sector Resilience Fund (TSRF) is a £20 million emergency fund for charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations working in Scotland delivered by Firstport, Social Investment Scotland and the Corra Foundation and provides grants up to £100,000. In addition there is up to a further £5 million available in fully flexible, 0% interest loans starting at £50,000. Third sector organisations can find out if they are eligible on the Third Sector Resilience Fund web page.

The Hotel Recovery Programme and Self-catering Grants

There will be two new funding packages worth £15 million to support the tourism sector as it continues to feel the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

A £14 million Hotel Recovery Programme will help to secure up to 3,000 jobs at Scotland’s larger hotels until the start of the summer 2021 tourism season. The Programme will be jointly administered by the Scottish Government’s enterprise agencies (Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise and VisitScotland) and builds on the existing funding and support for tourism businesses through the Creative, Tourism and Hospitality Hardship Fund and the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund. Expressions of interest for the Hotel Recovery Programme can be made in late August.

VisitScotland will also deliver £1 million in grants to self-catering businesses that have not received any other Scottish Government COVID-19 support. Businesses that apply and meet the criteria will be eligible for a one-off £10,000 grant to support them through the winter season. Applications for the self-catering support scheme will open in early August. VisitScotland will work with The Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) to review applications received for the self-catering support scheme.  

Further details and opening dates for both funds will be announced in due course.

You can find more information on the UK governments further funding for tourism webpage.

Support for coastal communities

Coastal businesses and third sector organisations can now benefit from a £7.2 million fund which is devolved to councils. The fund is from Scottish Crown Estate net revenues and is normally used for projects delivering coastal community benefit. The 26 councils in Scotland who have coastlines can use their remaining share of the fund which they have not yet allocated. We are considering how best to utilise our share of the funding alongside the range of other support being provided to businesses and third sector organisations by the UK and Scottish Governments. Further information can be found on the Support for coastal businesses web page.

Aquaculture Hardship Fund

An Aquaculture Hardship Fund has been set up for those businesses in the sector threatened by the effects of COVID-19. Hardship payments of up to £27,000 are being made available for around 100 businesses which make a full time living from shellfish growing and trout farming. Further information can be located on the Aquaculture Hardship Fund web page.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)

The BBLS is available as of 4 May 2020, enabling smaller businesses to access finance more quickly during the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000. The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won't be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year. You can apply for this loan on the Government's BBLS web page.

How is this webpage?