COVID-19 support and financial assistance for businesses and communities

Support and financial assistance available to businesses and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic

Read more +

Support from the Scottish and UK Government

The Find Business Support website is being updated daily with information on funding and guidance from Government so please remember to check it regularly and sign-up for the email bulletins.  

Funds available: 

  • Published 02 December: Apprenticeship Employer Grant a new Apprenticeship Employer Grant has been made available to further support employers when taking on modern or graduate apprentices within their business. Funding of between £3,500 and £5,000 is available for placements starting on or after 21 December 2020 and is available for starts up to 31 March 2021 or before if the funding is exceeded prior to that date. 
  • Updated 25 November: Strategic Framework Business Fund is a fund for businesses that are required to close by law or significantly change operations due to COVID-19 restrictions from 02 November 2020. This fund replaces the previous Coronavirus Restrictions Fund that covered restrictions in October. 
  • Updated 24 November: Third round of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme opens 30 November. The third taxable grant is worth 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total.
  • 23 November: Covid-19 Residential Outdoor Education Centre Recovery Fund is open to third and private sector centres that have been financially impacted by the Covid-19. The fund will be administered by the charity YouthLink Scotland. Applications for essential running costs are invited between 23 November and 11 December 2020. Applications for funding to support outdoor learning in and around schools will open on 11 Jan 2021 until 05 Feb 2021.
  • Updated 13 November: Flexible Workforce Development Fund helps businesses continue to invest in their workforce and for the first time is available for all of Scotland’s employers including levy payers and SMEs.

  • Updated 11 November: Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers is a much needed additional investment in support for creative freelancers given the extraordinary demand experienced during the first round of the fund.

  • Updated 09 November: Government extends Furlough to March 2021 Workers across the UK will benefit from increased support with a five-month extension of the furlough scheme to 31 March 2021. 30 November 2020 is the last day employers can submit or change claims for periods ending on or before 31 October 2020. Claims for furlough days in November 2020 must be submitted by 14 December 2020.

  • Updated 05 November: The Culture Collective Fund is a pilot programme which will establish a network of creative practitioners, organisations and communities, working together to create a positive difference locally and nationally in response to COVID-19. Expressions of interest close on 18 November. 
  • Updated 02 November: The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) provides financial support to smaller businesses (SMEs) across the UK that are losing revenue, and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. CBILS has been significantly expanded along with changes to the scheme’s features and eligibility criteria. The changes mean even more smaller businesses across the UK impacted by COVID-19 can access the funding they need. You can find a useful step-by-step guide here on how to apply for CBILS support. The application deadline has been extended to 31 January 2021.
  • 27 October: Support for nightclubs and soft play One-off grants of up to £50,000 will be available to businesses in both sectors through the COVID-19 Contingency Fund. Grants will be based on rateable value. Local authorities will be contacting businesses directly to get the information needed to progress their claim. More information and eligibility criteria is available on the link above.  
  • Updated 23 October: Grants for businesses Details of grants available to businesses as part of Scotland’s refreshed strategic approach to suppressing COVID-19 have been published. From 02 November, firms that are required by law to close will be eligible for grants every four weeks for as long as the restrictions last. 
  • Updated 22 October: The Job Support Scheme has increased available support The UK Government has increased financial support to businesses affected by coronavirus restrictions and lower demand over winter.
  • 19 October: Funding for Scottish islands to ditch single-use packaging Scotland’s islands could lead a revolution in the way we shop with financial support being provided to eradicate wasteful packaging. Zero Waste Scotland will administer a total of £600,000 in grant funding provided by the Scottish Government and European Regional Development Fund to empower shops, from Shetland to Arran and all the islands in between, to take the next steps in the war on waste by ditching single-use packaging and moving to reusable options. Applications for funding are open until 5pm on 16 November 2020.
  • 18 October: Independent market insights: COVID-19 market research Following the impacts of COVID-19, market reports can help you keep on top of the rapidly changing consumer and business environment. Scottish companies can contact Scottish Enterprise to request free tailored extracts from a selection of commercial research reports. 
  • 13 October: Funding increase for businesses through Adopt an Apprentice Payments for employers recruiting apprentices who have lost their jobs is being increased from £2,000 to £5,000 through the Scottish Government’s Adopt an Apprentice programme.  
  • 13 October: Self-Isolation Support Grant now open Applications for the Self-Isolation Support Grant have opened for low income workers who are asked to self-isolate and would lose income if they needed to isolate. 
  • 09 October: Coronavirus Restrictions Fund The Scottish Government has announced £40 million in funding for businesses and employees in Scotland affected by the temporary COVID-19 brake restrictions. The funds will be administered by Local Authorities, providing one-off grants to hospitality and other businesses required to close. It will operate as a two-tiered scheme, with a smaller grant of £2,000 for businesses with a Rateable Value (RV) of under £51,000 and a larger grant of £3,000 for businesses with a RV over £51,000. 
  • 09 October: Helpline for Scottish organisations in the event of a cyber-attack In partnership with Scottish Government and Police Scotland, SBRC has launched the UK’s first cyber incident response helpline for the SME community and the third sector to help victims of cybercrime understand what support is immediately available to them and help them recover. 
  • 08 October: The National Transition Training Fund will help people who have lost their jobs or who are at risk of redundancy as a result of coronavirus to develop the skills required to move into sectors with the greatest potential for future growth and job opportunities.
  • 02 October: What to do if you can't pay your tax bill on time Contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as soon as possible if you have missed your payment. How you contact HMRC depends on what you need to pay.
  • 25 September: Deferral of VAT payments due to COVID-19 On 24 September 2020, the Chancellor announced that businesses who deferred VAT due from 20 March to 30 June 2020 will now have the option to pay in smaller payments over a longer period. Instead of paying the full amount by the end of March 2021, you can make smaller payments up to the end of March 2022, interest free.
  • 25 September: Scottish Veterans Fund opens the £200,000 Scottish Veterans Fund is now open for bids from projects that improve the lives of former service personnel and their families. The 2020/21 fund, supported by the Scottish Government and Standard Life Aberdeen, will also consider projects that recognise the impact of COVID-19.
  • 24 September: Green Recovery - Low Carbon Energy Project Capital Funding Expression of interest form and guidance for funding to stimulate and accelerate the delivery of low carbon energy opportunities across Scotland, including the provision of support to projects in urban, rural, island and remote parts of Scotland and areas that are off gas grid.
  • 22 September: Screen Hardship Fund This fund is to support freelance screen practitioners working in all parts of Scotland’s screen sector who are experiencing immediate financial hardship. Applications opened on Tuesday 22 September and will remain open until all funds have been expended. 
  • 21 September: Young Company Capital Investment Grant Scheme We've launched a new grant scheme in partnership with Business Gateway for start-up or young (less than five years old) businesses and social enterprises, the Young Company Capital Investment Scheme. This will provide grant funding of up to 50% of the costs (up to £50,000) for capital equipment. The scheme is open to SMEs with a UK registered address, that can provide evidence of economic activity in the Highlands and Islands. 
  • 17 September: Youth Arts Access Fund The overall £3m Youth Arts Fund has largely been provided to enhance the existing Youth Music Initiative programme managed by Creative Scotland. 
  • 16 September: UK Government extends support to stop business evictions this year Commercial tenants will be protected from the risk of eviction until the end of 2020 helping businesses to protect jobs.
  • 11 September: Recovery Advice for Business Scheme The scheme offers SMEs access to free expert advice until 31 December to help them recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Enterprise Nation, the small business support network, is providing free access to its platform to enable SMEs to connect with business advisers who can support on issues such as HR, legal affairs, advertising, and accounting. 
  • New 11 September: COVID-19 Scottish Zoo and Aquarium Animal Welfare Fund If you run a zoo or aquarium in Scotland and are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, you may be able to apply for a 0% unsecured loan or grant of up to £100,000 to pay for three months of animal care costs.
  • 08 September: Business Gateway has a new podcast series called Connections. It aims to explore the challenges businesses face as a result of COVID-19. The discussion with business owners and Business Gateway advisers tackles issues including restructuring and diversification, maintaining mental and emotional wellbeing and managing furloughed staff, redundancies and flexible working.
  • 02 September: UK Government's Kickstart Scheme opens for employer applications As part of the UK government’s Plan for Jobs, a new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme, will create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people across Scotland, England and Wales. The 6 month placements are open to those aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long term unemployment. Employers will receive funding for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum auto-enrolment pension contributions. The first placements are likely to be available from November but employers can apply now. You can also find someone to apply on your behalf.
  • 21 August: Redundancy support – PACE (Partnership Action for Continuing Employment) is the Scottish Government's national strategic partnership framework for responding to redundancy situations. Free support and advice is available through Skills Development Scotland to help minimise the impact for people and businesses facing redundancy.
  • 18 August: Superfast broadband voucher scheme Details of a voucher scheme to help ensure everyone in Scotland will have access to superfast broadband by the end of 2021 has been announced. The Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme will provide funding of up to £5,000 to help homes and businesses not in scope of either Reaching 100% contracts or planned commercial investment to obtain superfast broadband where providers may not ordinarily go.
  • 07 August: Flexible Workforce Development Fund to help employers upskill and re-skill their existing workforce. The fund has been increased from £10 million to £20 million for 2020/21. £13 million will be available immediately through colleges who will continue to expand their current support for employers.
  • 31 July: The Job Retention Bonus is a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers for each previously furloughed employee still employed through to 31 January 2021
  • Updated 21 July: VAT - reduced rate for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions - if you’re a VAT registered business, check if you can temporarily reduce the rate of VAT on supplies relating to hospitality, accommodation, or admission to certain attractions.
  • 17 July: £1 million available through new Agricultural Transformation Programme to help farmers diversify into forestry.
  • 17 July: Agriculture loan scheme launches the loans aim to maintain cash flow for farmers and crofters during COVID-19.
  • 09 July: Get support through the Recovery Advice for Business scheme Thousands of expert professional and business services advisers have signed up to offer free online advice to help small businesses bounce back from COVID-19. 
  • Updated 30 June: Apply for the coronavirus Futures Fund The Future Fund provides government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors.
  • Published 08 June: Apply for a Small Business Grant of £10,000 if you run a small business from a space you rent or lease - such as a shared office space, business incubator or industrial unit.
  • Published 28 May: Check if you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to COVID-19 
  • 100% rates relief for properties in the retail, hospitality, leisure and airport sectors
  • 1.6% rates relief for all non-domestic properties across Scotland
  • Small Business Bonus Scheme phase two opened on 05 May - small business rate payers will be eligible for a 100% grant on their first property plus a 75% grant on all subsequent properties.

  • An initial package of more than £5m for the fishing industry to help more than 650 vulnerable seafood fishing vessels
  • £10m scheme will provide financial support for seafood processors.
  • £3.5m fund is now open for the over 12m fishing fleet
  • Business support tool The UK Government has launched a new tool to help businesses more easily find what financial support is available to them through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Closed funds

The following funds have now closed. You can still visit the websites listed to check the status of applications or to find out where funding has been awarded. 

  • 18 October: New grant for local projects closed to applicants 25 November A new £1 million ‘Scotland Loves Local’ fund will provide grants of between £500 and £5,000 to hundreds of projects to promote town centre and online businesses. Grants can be put towards providing safe shopping information for residents and tourists, the installation of public health infrastructure such as protective screens, physical distancing markers, hand sanitising equipment and PPE.
  • 07 October: Digital Enablement Grant has now closed.
  • 18 August: Connecting Scotland is a £15 million Scottish Government fund being delivered through the SCVO aiming to support around 23,000 low income households without proper internet access to get online. Closed to applicants 05 October. 
  • Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund closed to applicants on 24 September 2020. the Scottish Government announced a £59 million fund on 28 August for culture and heritage. The first phase of this fund opens to applications on 17 September.
  • Events Industry Support Fund announced closed to applicants at 12 noon 14 September. Details of the £6 million fund to help the events sector recover from the COVID-19 pandemic was announced on 24 August. The fund will comprise of a one-off grant of £10,000 to support businesses in the events industry, particularly those in the supply chain that are facing hardship.
  • Hotel Support Programme closed to expressions of interest on 09 September. The core purpose of the Hotel Support Programme is to protect sustainable employment in the medium term within larger hotels in Scotland. It is highly targeted and can be used alongside other COVID-19 support schemes.
  • New support for Scottish grassroots music venues - The £2.2m fund was launched on 26 August and delivered through Creative Scotland. The purpose of the fund is to provide grassroots live music venues, that were financially sustainable before COVID-19, with the funds to prevent permanent closure and help with sustainability. Please note the deadline has now passed for applications to this fund. 
  • Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund - the fund was a grant scheme for Scottish SMEs that were able to demonstrate that they had been made vulnerable by COVID-19 but could present a strong business case for a viable future. A full list of companies to be awarded a grant as part of this funding programmes has now been published on the Scottish Enterprise website.  
  • Creative, Tourism and Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund -the fund was an avenue of support for small creative, tourism and hospitality companies not in receipt of other COVID-19 business grants. The fund was designed to support companies in immediate hardship due to the current situation. A full list of companies awarded support can be found on the Scottish Enterprise website
  • Fund closed to applications: The Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund. Decisions will be communicated no later than 24 September 2020.
  • Closed to new applicants 31 July: Early Stage Growth Challenge Fund
  • Closed to new applicants 10 July: Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund.
  • Closed to new applicants 10 July: The Bed and Breakfast Hardship Fund is being administered through local authorities. If you have any queries about this fund or your application, please contact your local authority directly.  
  • A £34m Wellbeing Fund to support organisations across the third sector that are providing important services for people as a result of coronavirus - this fund is closed. Find out more about your application on the SVCO website.  
  • A £2m fund launched by Creative Scotland to help artists and freelancers with grants of between £500 and £2,500 The Bridging Bursary Funds are now closed. Creative Scotland is currently processing all requests received. 
  • A £3m scheme for around 100 businesses which make a full time living from shellfish growing and trout farming. This round of funding closed on 30 June. 
  • Closed to new applicants 29 June. £100 million emergency loan fund supporting small and medium-sized house builders with liquidity issues due to the temporary closure of the house building sector as a result of COVID-19 (18 May 2020) 

Financial support for communities and the third sector

Find out what's available in our communities and third sector funding pages. 

Third sector and community funds


Keep up to date

Use the Find Business Support portal to keep up to date with all of the financial packages and support available for both businesses and third sector organisations.


Coronavirus Third Sector Information Hub

The SCVO website is also regularly updated with official information for charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations.

Hand washing graphic