Funding provided to Ecosystem Fund: FOI Release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

1. There was a round of funding provided by the Scottish Government’s Tech Ecosystem Team in Q1 2023 (DIGIT were a recipient of an award from this round of funding). However, we can see no record of any of the awards for this funding round, and note that you only referred to funding awards in 2021 and Q4 2023. Please can you provide a list of the recipients and awards from this Q1 2023 round of funding.

NB: I note the pdf listing the first round of funding (from Q4 2021) is now available online, whilst the page was visible, the pdf was not accessible when we last tried to access the ‘Successful Awards Page’.

2. You mention that the costs of obtaining the requested information exceeds £600, as it would require ‘a search of all of the records of the Scottish Government’ and suggested that I reduce the scope of the request to a specific business area.

Could the scope be reduced by searching for funding issued to each of the individual beneficiaries. There were only c40 beneficiaries per round and a number of duplicates between rounds, so we are only talking c60-70 organisations in total?

Alternatively, are you able to advise how the records of the specific SG business areas are categorised (e.g by industry, market vertical, region) so that we can tailor the request?

NB: We genuinely believe that it is a reasonable request to identify how much government funding has been spent on tech / entrepreneurial ecosystem activities and who this money has been allocated to.

3. We asked for the date that the total funding amount was approved / confirmed. You have provided a response of ‘in the summer of the relevant financial year’ – Please can you specify the date as requested, as opposed to a 3-month seasonal window?

NB: The funding awards were time-sensitive for the beneficiaries, and funding had to be spent by recipients before the end of the financial year. Hence the reason we are trying to establish an accurate picture of the timescales involved.


1. In Q1 2023, funding was provided to six organisations from the Ecosystem Fund budget line - DIGIT, Turing Fest, Scottish Games Week, Foras, FutureX and Digital DNA - to support market square activity in Scotland. Five organisations (DIGIT, Turing Fest, Scottish Games Week, FutureX and Digital DNA) each received £40,000 in funding. Foras was awarded £49,551.67 to support an international cohort visit, which accounted for the higher amount of funding allocated. However, this funding was separate from an Ecosystem Fund open call.

The funding awarded to these organisations was not part of a formal open and competitive funding round, but rather a strategic allocation to support key ecosystem initiatives and events aligned with the Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review (STER).

2. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the information requested would still exceed the upper cost limit of £600. The reason for this is that to locate and retrieve that information we would need to conduct a search of all historic records of the Scottish Government, including across portfolios related to Education, Health, Environment etc. Under section 12 of FOISA public authorities are not required to comply with request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under section 12.

You may wish to consider reducing the scope of your request in order that the costs can be brought below £600. For example, you could restrict your request to a specific business area of the Scottish Government, as this would allow us to limit the searches that would require to be conducted. In this instance, for activity related to entrepreneurial ecosystem spend, you may wish to restrict the search to funding provided by the Startup Infrastructure and Community Team since the publication of the Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review. You may also find it helpful to look at the Scottish Information Commissioner’s ‘Tips for requesting information under FOI and the EIRs’ on his website at:

3. In 2023, as part of a £17.5 million funding package to help establish Scotland as one of Europe's leading start-up economies, the Ecosystem Fund was confirmed by Neil Gray, Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy. This confirmation came during his statement to parliament on June 29 2023.

The Scottish Government does not have the exact confirmation date by Ministers for the 2021 round. However, I can provide details on the process leading up to Ministerial approval. An initial options paper was created on 2 August 2021 to inform key partners of the proposed funding round. This allowed for their feedback ahead of the formal submission. The funding round proposal was then submitted for Ministerial approval on 4 October 2021, following refinement of the plans with partners. While the exact date of Ministerial confirmation is unavailable, this background conveys the timeframe and process undertaken to secure agreement for the 2021 funding round.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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