Pathways Pre-start Fund: form and guidance

Information about applying to the Pathways Pre-start Fund which aims to bring more people into the entrepreneurship pipeline by offering pre-start business support.


Ana Stewart and Mark Logan’s ground-breaking report Pathways: a new approach for women in entrepreneurship highlighted the continuing gender-gap in entrepreneurial participation in Scotland. The report made broad recommendations encompassing both long-term intervention on our education system and immediate supports to women in business. The Scottish Government has committed to implement those recommendations. In line with our implementation of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation, this is a long-term undertaking.

Pathways sets out a new type of business support – pre-start support, seeking to:

  • bring more people into the entrepreneurship pipeline
  • reach people who might not otherwise consider entrepreneurship and business start-up
  • widen participation in business from people in groups historically under-represented in entrepreneurship, with a particular emphasis on closing the gender gap in entrepreneurial participation as articulated in the Pathways report

Pre-Start is primarily about developing people, supporting development of entrepreneurial skills and mindset, inspiring, educating and connecting future entrepreneurs. It will deliver services, support, mentoring and advice to people in ways that are flexible and accessible, in terms of location, timing and content.

As a first step towards establishing a network of pre-start support, the Pathways Pre-Start Fund will allocate funding on a competitive basis to ecosystem organisations that meet the specified funding criteria.

The fund opened for bids on 7 September 2023, for projects delivering activity up to end March 2024.


The deadline for applications is 30 September 2023.


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