Access to finance

While most Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have access to the finance they need, there are still some businesses in Scotland that are unable to access finance, or are not trying to. Since the global financial crisis of 2008, most SMEs have been using external finance less and focusing on remaining debt-free.

We want to make it easier for SMEs to access finance so that they can use it to support jobs and achieve growth. We are doing this through:

  • the Scottish Growth Scheme and new funding options (microfinance, debt and equity investment) under the Scheme
  • providing information on all funding available to Scottish businesses on

Scottish Growth Scheme

In September 2016 the First Minister announced a three-year scheme offering £500 million of financial support to help businesses grow. Read the news story: £500m new support for businesses.

The Scottish Growth Scheme will offer investment guarantees and loans to new and early-stage companies with high-growth potential, particularly those in technology-intensive sectors and emerging markets such as financial technology.

Scottish-European Growth Co-investment Programme

The Scottish-European Growth Co-investment Programme is the first part of the Scottish Growth Scheme (launched June 2017) and is being delivered through the Scottish Investment Bank, in partnership with the European Investment Fund.

Supported by £50 million from Scottish Enterprise and £50 million from the European Investment Fund (EIF), the Programme will help Scottish companies looking to raise more than £2 million in equity finance (by selling shares in their business) to secure investment from EIF-accredited fund managers all over Europe.

Find more information and how to apply on the Scottish Enterprise website.

More initiatives opened under the Scottish Growth Scheme in January 2019

Through a variety of appointed fund managers, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across Scotland will have the chance to apply for financial support, which includes microfinance loans of up to £25,000, debt or loan finance of up to £100,000, and equity investment in deals of up to £2 million. Find out more in our news story from January 2019: Helping businesses grow and thrive.

As part of this phase of the initiative, Scottish Enterprise has also introduced a loans scheme in the range from £250,000 to £2 million, or up to £5 million in exceptional circumstances, for growth-focused SMEs with a viable business plan and a clear ability to repay the debt.

SMEs seeking to explore this funding should in the first instance contact the relevant Fund Manager or in relation to the new Scottish Enterprise loan scheme, contact Scottish Enterprise directly.