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Community, tech and green business projects in Glasgow to receive Shared Prosperity Funding

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Community, tech and green business projects in Glasgow to receive Shared Prosperity Funding

Glasgow City Council has given its approval to six new projects in the city that will be funded through the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and delivered by the council.

The projects, which will receive £1.78million of UKSPF support, are as follows:

• Communities Mobilisation Programme (£100,000)

• Tech Community Support (£150,000)

• Ecosystem Growth (£600,000)

• Digital Development Grants (£125,000)

• Green Programme and Project Development Fund (£305,000), and

• Business Start-Up Grants (£500,000)

The Communities Mobilisation Programme will see work with local communities to encourage them to take part in the transition to a green economy, and will be delivered through a £100,000 small grants programme to support arts and cultural activities in local communities.  The council will work with Glasgow Life to develop, administer and deliver the programme, with grants of up to £10,000 available for organisations to build the capacity of local communities to take part in, and facilitate, the city’s transition towards a green economy. The grants will also explore the potential for citizens to adopt and participate in new economic models that can aid the transition and demonstrate how arts and cultural activity can be used in this work.

The Tech Community Support work will provide support to build on the existing, currently fractured, tech ecosystem in Glasgow to cohere – and where appropriate, consolidate – activity, as well as attracting additional or new events.  This will provide investment to strengthen and grow the ‘market-square’ for Glasgow’s tech ecosystem including tech conference development and online tools to measure and promote the regional start-up and scale-up the ecosystem with data, insight and visibility.  This will involve the strategic development of the regional tech ecosystem platform as well as establishing a fund to attract and support significant ecosystem Glasgow-based events and conferences.

The Ecosystem Growth funding will provide direct support to tech SMEs, in the form of grants, as well as working with partners in Glasgow on projects to support their incubation and acceleration. It will help strengthen early-stage tech businesses directly with grants for accommodation and meet-up support, and bolster growth and resilience by working with expert providers of incubation and acceleration, including Glasgow’s newly launched tech-scaler.

The Digital Development grants from the UKSPF will allow more businesses to access Stage One of the Digital Boost programme, a programme that is regularly oversubscribed. Digital Boost currently provides funding for up to three days’ expert support, to a maximum value of £1,425. Once this has been used, further support requires to be paid for at the recipient’s expense, and as many of the organisations accessing this support are fledgling enterprises, this cost is often prohibitive. Therefore, the Digital Development Grant would allow businesses to build on the initial support provided via Digital Boost and access further specialist guidance.

£305,000 of UKSPF support will help the development of projects within the city’s Climate Investment Pipeline, including projects within the Greenprint for Investment. This work will identify projects that offer potential to reduce emissions, as well as generate revenue streams or savings, to leverage private investment, and to generate wider economic, social or environmental benefits. Where appropriate, external support will be procured.  There will be a strong focus on supporting projects which are unable to access other development funding support from the public sector, such as Scotland’s Futures Trust.

Finally, new UKSPF funding will boost the already successful Business Start-Up service delivered by the council.  The service provides a grant to individuals living in, and looking to establish a business within, the Glasgow City Council boundary.  While there is a strong track record of supporting the creation of new businesses in the city, more can be done to increase the number of start-ups, whilst at the same time, help improving business survival rates. The programme will support the council’s ambitions to grow social enterprises and support vulnerable groups, including those living in the most deprived communities, those under/unemployed, women-led businesses, lone parents, minority ethnic communities and those suffering from ill health.  This proposal will expand on the current business start-up grant offer, to support more pre-start businesses to commence trading earlier than would otherwise be possible.  In addition, this grant will provide a strong foundation to commence trading and improve future sustainability.  The current £250 offer will be retained, with a further tier of £750 and an upper tier of £1,500 also available, to reflect the higher start-up costs in specific sectors and/or commercial premises, and for organisations with ambitions to take on employees.

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “This funding will allow us to further support the development of businesses in the tech and green sectors, both of which are crucial to our economic growth.  In addition, there is now an opportunity to involve local communities in new ways of making the transition towards a Net Zero city and economy.”

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