What kind of agencies offer support to SMEs?
Support predominantly comes from central Government, particularly in regard to financial subsidy. This is
disseminated at a variety of levels from a UK wide scale to regional agencies, such as Highlands and Islands
QUANGOs and NGOs also provide support to SMEs, the Energy Saving Trust being one of the key agencies in
Membership organisations, such as the Orkney Renewable Energy Forum (OREF), seek to bring individuals and
small business together to help achieve certain aims. For example, OREF aims to address strategic issues
affecting Orkney’s renewables sector through collaboration with members, the local community, key
stakeholders, and academics and researchers.
Smaller charities, such as Community Energy Scotland, also aim to provide advice and assistance to SMEs in
Is it clear to the SME where they should go for support?
There is a Government website (https://www.mygov.scot/funding-opportunities/) which lists various funding
opportunities; however, this does not necessarily contain all possible funding sources.
If there is a community element to the project Local Energy Scotland clearly lays out how they can get support
Is there one agency which is the first place for businesses to go?
This depends on the type of venture:
- if it is a community based business then Local Energy Scotland is the first calling point;
- if it is innovation or research based Scottish Enterprise, or its subsidiaries, is usually the most
- for direct subsidy for electricity generated through the feed-in tariff scheme the Energy Saving
Trust is the first point of contact.
Are business supports restricted to certain types of business, or enhanced for certain types of SMEs (e.g. only available for manufacturing or for exporters)?
In Scotland there is a strong focus on community renewable energy projects. These have additional funds
available to them through the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES). Through collaboration with
communities this fund can be accessed by others.
The variety of business supports means some SMEs may not necessarily be eligible to all supports. For example
many supports are either exclusively for R&D or specifically state such projects are not eligible.
Are there special supports for RE businesses?
Yes, probably the most important of these is the subsidy system for electricity generated by renewable sources
through the feed-in tariff for small scale projects (under 5 MW) and ROC (now CfD mechanism) (for larger
projects). However, feedback from industry shows that the reduced support of government is having a very
negative impact. One of our respondents to another element of GREBE termed these changes as a
Government “shutdown of renewables”, so although there are specific supports in place the strength of these
is becoming questionable.
Business supports available in Scotland are described in more detail in the coming pages under the following themes:
- Financial Support (grants, loans, equity investment)
- Taxation or welfare supports or concessions for businesses
- Soft supports e.g. mentoring, training, specialist advice, networks
- Research and Development supports
- Social and Community supports (focused on not for profit)
- Other- e.g. Incubation space or office space