Funding

Regional Selective Assistance 

RSA is a discretionary grant scheme with a number of criteria to be met for an application to be successful. The amount offered depends on the size of your business, location of the project and our assessment of how much is needed for the project to proceed.

From 1 July 2014 large businesses which are not small or medium sized enterprises will only be eligible if the project involves 'new activity'. Examples are projects which are at a new assisted area location; or projects which involve diversification at an existing location.

Eligibility

RSA is available to limited companies, sole traders or partnerships, whether your business is based in Scotland or you intend to locate here. To qualify, your project must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Take place in Scotland within an 'assisted area'
  • Directly create or safeguard jobs within your business
  • Not be offset by job losses elsewhere
  • Involve an element of capital investment
  • Be mainly funded from the private sector

You must be able to demonstrate that your project needs RSA to proceed as planned. RSA will not be offered if your business is already committed to undertaking the project or if we believe the project would proceed anyway.

For projects that require significant investment in capital expenditure, RSA can provide assistance under Aid for Initial investment.  Projects that will create new jobs but involve relatively low levels of capital expenditure can still be eligible for assistance through Aid for Job Creation.

Your project and the underlying business must be financially viable. It must make commercial sense and contribute towards national economic performance. A few activities may be subject to special EU restrictions on aid.

Project location and business size

RSA is available on the same basis to businesses whether they are indigenous or foreign-owned but the project must take place in Scotland. Different levels of RSA are available depending on your location and the size of your business. The map below indicates the rates across the Highlands and Islands for differing sizes of business:

Impact on employment

Projects must have an impact on employment in Scotland and specifically create or safeguard jobs within your business. These jobs can either be full-time or part-time but they must be permanent posts. Only jobs directly employed by your business are eligible.

You must be able to demonstrate that the project's employment impact within your business will not be offset by job losses elsewhere in Scotland. For safeguarded jobs, there must be a real threat to these posts if you did not carry out the project.

RSA rarely assists jobs that include a mobile element. As a guide, any post that involves the holder being away from the project premises for more than one day a week is unlikely to be eligible. However, all cases are looked at on an individual basis.

Through RSA, the aim is for overall gains in net employment in Scotland and therefore assistance is more likely to be approved for projects that service markets wider than Scotland only, or where competitors are largely based outside Scotland. Many firms operate in a local market, such as:

  • Retail
  • Catering
  • Household services
  • Personal services

The use of RSA in such instances will not result in an overall increase in employment in that activity. Other examples of markets that are, generally, well served include:

  • Double glazing
  • General printing
  • Locally-focused recycling plants
  • General joinery
  • Small-scale customer service/order fulfilment operations
  • Locally-focused food production

However, it is important to consider the project and not just the existing business. If you are targeting a new market, this may qualify even if your existing activities would not be eligible.

Project costs

Your project must involve an element of capital investment. Eligible project costs, all of which must be capitalised, include expenditure on land and buildings, plant and machinery, software and, in some circumstances, the acquisition of intellectual property from third parties.

Project capital investment can be on either new or second-hand items and we can also assist self-built assets in most cases. We are unlikely to assist any assets not permanently based at the project premises.

The majority of project funding must come from the private sector. This can come from a variety of sources including:

  • Equity
  • Term loans
  • Overdrafts
  • Lease finance
  • Hire purchase
  • Internal resources of the business (though not projected future earnings)

The amount of grant available depends on our assessment of a number of factors, including:

  • Location of your project
  • Size of your business
  • Size and cost of your project
  • Number of jobs created or safeguarded
  • Quality and type of these jobs

The grant is discretionary and the level offered within EU State aid limits depends on our assessment of how much is needed to make the project go ahead.

The amount of RSA potentially available towards a project can be calculated either by applying the appropriate aid limit to eligible capital expenditure or the first two years’ salary costs of the project jobs.  It is important to note however, that the amount offered will be the minimum we consider is needed for the project to go ahead.

Aid for initial investment

For projects that require significant investment in capital expenditure, RSA can provide assistance under Aid for Initial investment. To calculate the amount of grant available we take into account:

  • The size and location of your business.
  • The amount of eligible capital expenditure relating to the project.
  • The number of jobs created or safeguarded at the project premises, as a direct result of the project.

Aid for job creation

Projects that will create new jobs but involve relatively low levels of capital expenditure can still be eligible for assistance through Aid for Job Creation. To calculate the amount of grant available we take into account a proportion of the first two years' salary costs of the jobs created by the project. A project involving a low number of highly paid jobs can attract as much funding as one involving a higher number of jobs earning a lower amount. This means we can offer more grant for highly paid jobs. The proportion available depends both on the size and location of the business. Aid for Job Creation does not apply to safeguarded jobs.

Size of your business

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can attract higher levels of assistance than large companies.
Small enterprises employ fewer than 50 people and either:

  • Have a turnover of less than €10 million (£6.7 million) or
  • Have a balance sheet total (net assets) of less than €10 million (£6.7 million).

    Medium enterprises employ fewer than 250 people and either:
  • Have a turnover of less than €50 million (£34 million) or
  • Have a balance sheet total (net assets) of less than €43 million (£29 million).

All partner and linked enterprises must be taken into account.

Partner enterprises

A partner enterprise occurs when your business holds 25 percent or more but no more than 50 per cent of the shareholding/voting capital of another enterprise or 25 percent or more but no more than 50 per cent of your shareholding/voting rights are held by another enterprise. In such circumstances, the relevant percentage share of the other enterprise(s) data must be included in your SME calculation.

Linked enterprises

A linked enterprise occurs where your business holds more than 50 percent of the shareholding/voting capital of another enterprise or more than 50 percent of your shareholding/voting rights are held by another enterprise. In such circumstances, all of the other enterprise(s) data must be included in the SME calculation.

For more information contact your local HIE area team 

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