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New £5K Digital Grant for Scottish Companies

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

B.G. (Before Google), you had to use a bit of elbow grease to check stuff.

I grew up in 70s Britain.

One night (probably during a black-out) I remember Dad reading the magical Ripley’s Believe it or Not! book to me.

The next morning I got up and ran a mile to the library to do a spot of fact-checking.

It turned out there WAS a gnarly old bloke in India who never cut his fingernails…AND a leaning tower in Pisa.

New £5k Digital Grant for Scottish Companies


Nowadays, nothing is more than a search engine query away.

So you’ll allow me a certain degree of scepticism when a quick Google resulted in zilch information about a rumoured new 75-per-cent-back grant for Scottish startups spending up to £5k on “digital”.

What I’d Heard

  • There’s a new grant for small Scottish companies (startups/SMEs/qualifying firms).
  • It’s only available through Business Gateway.
  • Eligible companies could spend up to £5k and get 75 per cent (up to £3750) back, in a oner!

What I Found

  • Nothing online about this new grant. Not. A. Sausage.
  • Bar a blog post about a similar-sounding now-defunct pilot scheme.

Maybe There Was Something In It…

So I rang Business Gateway. And lo and behold there is a grant.

Piecing together the information I gleaned from this call and a later email, I’ve got to the bottom of it.

Unfortunately there is still no information online. Otherwise, I would provide you with a link.

Why’s He Telling Me This?

I do digital marketing, and PR. So the more people who know about this grant the more likely they are to buy my services.

But I also like providing valuable content to customers and potential customers. So I hope you find this information of interest.

New £5K Digital Grant for Scottish Startups: What I Know

  • It’s a Scotland-wide scheme.
  • It’s called the Digital Scotland Voucher.
  • Eligible companies can indeed spend up to £5k and get 75 per cent (up to £3750) back, in a oner! So, technically it’s an up-to-£3750-digital-grant-for-eligible-companies-spending-up-to–£5k-on-digital (phew).
  • It’s run by Business Gateway. You fill out an expression of interest form. Then you meet a Business Gateway adviser before applying.
  • You must fall into one of three Business Gateway company categorisations. These are: Growth Advisory Service qualifying company; High Value Startup; Potential High Value Startup.
  • Don’t ask me what the criteria are, try Business Gateway.
  • The money can be used to: “adopt and enhance ecommerce activity; provide online and digital services to help businesses grow; improve productivity; increase internationalisation; reduce operating costs.”
  • Not to be confused with this new digital grant.

Eligible companies can use this cash to: “access ecommerce, ICT and digital consultancy and or support implementation activities…The voucher can be used for consultancy advice and implementation support which may include training of staff, or software development or customisation – other costs will be considered on a case by case basis.”

So Far, So Good…But Where’s The Rub?

“The voucher CAN NOT be used for the following:

  • Hardware.
  • Pay per click activity (e.g. Google Adwords).
  • In-house staff costs.
  • Ongoing business (including annual hosting, service maintenance, domain).
  • Brochure websites.
  • Software as a service cost where it is for ongoing business activity.
  • Any standard off the shelf software.
  • Or any VAT element of the project.”

The blurb continues: “To redeem the voucher you are required to submit information on (sic) the project is completed. Payment is then made in ONE instalment into the business bank account.”

So, Pretty Good Eh? Not Much of a Rub


And I would urge all small businesses in Scotland to pick up the telephone to Business Gateway and take it from there. I have.

I’m sure that as always there’ll be a few hoops to jump through, and many firms will not fit the bill.

BUT, had I read this in Ripley’s Believe It or Not 30 years ago, I would not have believed it.

2015 Digital Grant for Companies in Scotland

Joking aside, I doff my cap to whoever it is coming up with these excellent small-business-enabling ideas at the moment. As a Glasgow PR company, which began life 10 months ago, I know just how important fast broadband speeds and a slick online presence are to generating sales in 2015.

Bravo, public sector digital grant guys!

And finally, if you’re a Scottish startup, check out the excellent social media courses available free through Business Gateway. The (mainly-external) trainers are cracking and events take place right across Scotland.

My name’s Dave @zudepr I’m a multi-award-winning Glasgow PR guy providing media relations, content marketing, social media, and SEO services to clients across the UK. You can sign up at to receive my latest blog posts direct to your inbox. I also email subscribers my pick of the four best bits of content worldwide (including one from Scotland) each and every Thursday evening.

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You can also call me on +44(0)1415690342 for a free consultation. 

Ripley’s Believe It or Not!: Photo credit: Marxchivist / Foter / CC BY


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