Economic Development Grant Scheme

Support provided by Orkney Islands Council

What does this involve?

Delivered by Orkney Islands Council's Economic Development team, the Economic Development Grant Scheme provides a number of grants of up to £55,000 each, to cover up to 30% of eligible costs. These grants support capital expenditure linked to business expansion in export-related activities, tourism and new services for Orkney. 

The grants can be used for:

  • projects that encourage economic diversification
  • activities that raise the average wage rate
  • efforts to overcome barriers to export outwith Orkney
  • projects that demonstrate additional benefits for the Orkney economy

Am I eligible?

You are eligible if your business:

  • is located in Orkney
  • can demonstrate a reasonable degree of financial health
  • is a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME), although assistance may be available at a lower rate if your business does not meet the SME criteria

Established businesses are eligible, as are new business start-ups if their start-up costs exceed the grant support available through the New Business Start-Up Grant.

The grants can be used for:

  • projects that encourage economic diversification
  • activities that raise the average wage rate
  • efforts to overcome barriers to export outwith Orkney
  • projects that demonstrate additional benefits for the Orkney economy

Your business must also fall within one of the following key industry sectors:

  • food and drink production, where the products are primarily intended for export outwith Orkney
  • creative industries and manufacturing, where the outputs are primarily intended for export outwith Orkney
  • high-end niche products that are only available in Orkney
  • tourism accommodation and facilities
  • knowledge and technology, where projects can demonstrate a benefit to the Orkney economy
  • renewable energy (but not energy production) and its supply chain
  • service sector, if the service is not currently provided in Orkney and you can show there is a viable local demand for that service (and that it's not just a slight variation on an existing service already available locally)
  • service sector where you can show there's a viable external demand

What does this cost?

The grant is free to apply for.

Who is this for?

Businesses located in Orkney or that propose to locate a business venture in Orkney.

How long does this take?

Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application within 15 working days after submitting their final application. 

Applicants will have 10 working days to accept the grant offer along with any conditions in writing.

Claims should be submitted within 2 years of grant acceptance for grants of up to £20,000 and within 3 years of grant acceptance for grants of £20,001 or more.

Important information

You must discuss your project proposal with a member of staff in the council’s Economic Development Service before you apply. The economic development officer will not encourage you to apply unless they feel your proposal matches the eligibility criteria.

To apply, you will need to complete the application form and submit a business plan and a 2-year cashflow forecast with it.

You should not spend money on grant-related costs before your grant is approved. 

If a project is considered eligible, it may be approved under delegated powers. In other cases, applications may require a decision to be made by elected members at the appropriate committee. 

Next steps

Submit an enquiry and an advisor will be in touch.

Support provided by Orkney Islands Council

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