There is a wide range of grants available, but many of them are restricted to specific geographical areas, or are available to researchers rather than companies. Most grants have a defined aim, for example to support economic development, commercialisation of R&D, or social objectives. The best source of advice on local grant funding is Business Gateway (, but we focus here on the funding available across Scotland for early stage companies with high growth potential.

Scottish Enterprise


  •  Aim: To support technical feasibility studies and research and development (R&D) projects.
  • Funding: - Feasibility studies: max ngrant £100k, max funding level 70% for small companies and 60% for medium sized companies to produce a technology demonstrator. 
  • R&D projects: max grant £600k, max funding level 35% to produce technology ready for commercialisation.
  • Eligibility: Projects must represent a significant technological advance for the sector concerned and involve a significant level of technical uncertainty.

Available to SMEs across Scotland including Highlands & Islands.


  • Aim: Supports industrial research andexperimental development. For grants >£100k, R&D jobs must be created and/or retained.
  • Funding: No upper limit for grants
  • Intervention rate: For grants to SMEs, 35% of eligible project costs with potential for up to 50% funding depending on project fit vs. EU state aid policy For grants to large companies, 25% of eligible projects costs with potential for up to 40% funding depending on project fit vs. EU state aid policy.
  • Eligibility: All sizes of company in the Scottish Enterprise region (Lowlands).

Collaborative R&D Grant - Funds multi-party projects using the same intervention rates as SE R&D; however, a collaboration bonus may be available depending on the make-up of the consortium
Seek and Solve scheme - Where a potential customer contributes 20% (cash or in-kind) towards the project, SE will fund SMEs up to 45% of eligible costs, resulting in a cumulative intervention of up to 56%. 


  • Aim: To encourage investment that will directly result in the creation or safeguarding of jobs in Scotland.
  • Funding: Location specific.
  • Eligibility: Location specific.


Highlands & Islands Enterprise

Companies in the Highlands and Islands have access some grant programmes delivered by Scottish Enterprise (see above):
• Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) 

In addition, HIE operates grant programmes of its own, including:
• HIE Research and Development Funding Scheme (

Innovate UK

Innovate UK funds, supports and connects innovative businesses to accelerate sustainable economic growth. Companies can apply for R&D funding in specific priority areas, as well as nonthemed ‘always open’ competitions such as Smart. Funding amounts range from £5,000 to £10 million. Innovate UK runs funding competitions which are open to all UK based companies; some are also open to research organisations working with business. There are different funding competitions depending on the size of the company and the type of industry it is in.


Interface administers a number of funding schemes to offset the cost of collaborating with Scotland’s universities, research institutions and further education colleges enabling them to develop new products and processes through R&D projects.
• Innovation Vouchers: funding for business and academic partnerships leading to new products, services or processes. Up to £5,000 for Standard Innovation Vouchers, and up to £20,000 for Follow On Innovation Vouchers (requiring match funding in both cases).

Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland. It distributes funding from the Scottish Government and The National Lottery.

The main source available to entrepreneurial companies is Open Project Funding, which supports the arts, screen and creative industries, with projects that help them explore, realise and develop their creative potential. From £1,000 to £100,000 (up to £150,000 considered)

Creative Scotland also offers Regular Funding (but the next round of Regular Funding will open in 2017 for the 2018- 2021 programme), Targeted Funding which adresses specific activities and development needs in a sector, specialism, and/or geographic area, and Funds Delivered by Partners, often with very specific purposes.

The Prince’s Trust

Enterprise Programme- The Enterprise programme supports young people aged 18 to 30 yearsold to start-up and grow in business, by providing essential funding and professional mentoring support.

Amount: loans of up to £7,500 and grants of up to £1,000

Wellcome Trust

• Health Innovation Challenge Fund: A parallel funding partnership between the Wellcome Trust and the Department of Health to stimulate the creation of innovative healthcare products, technologies and interventions and to facilitate their development for the benefit of patients in the NHS and beyond.
• Seeding Drug Discovery: Funding to help applicants with a potential drug target or new chemistry embark on a programme of compound discovery and/or take later stage projects towards clinical trials.