HIE will consider applications for financial assistance from account managed businesses, social enterprises and communities, and towards identified transformational projects.

HIE's financial assistance will be directed towards the sectors identified in the Scotland's Economic Strategy:

  • Creative Industries
  • Energy
  • Business Services
  • Food and Drink
  • Life Sciences
  • Tourism

We look to support projects which accelerate private sector-led business investment, which target wealth creation through increased employment and enhanced quality of jobs, and which improve productivity and efficient use of resources.

If you are not currently account managed but feel you meet the above criteria, please speak with someone at your local HIE office.

Contact HIE

Equity criteria

HIE's power to intervene to offer financial assistance to third parties is governed by the EU treaty, primarily the state aid rules. These rules are in place to prevent unfair state subsidy which could distort competitive markets and trade within the EU . Any financial assistance offered by HIE must either be compliant with the State Aid rules or delivered on a commercial, market-led basis.

HIE can offer financial assistance through grants, loans and direct investment, sometimes in combination. We consider each application for assistance on its merits, examining how it fits with HIE policy and objectives. All awards are discretionary.


We may be able to offer a grants package to match an applicant's needs. Any offer we make is subject to the European Union's rules on state aid. HIE will always be the funder of last resort, so we need to be assured that the applicant has pursued all other potential funding sources. HIE financial assistance will always be the least amount required to allow the project to proceed.


We may be able to provide a loan, either instead of or in addition to a grant. We will always look to be a lender of last resort. Loans must be provided on commercial terms, so we will seek to match our terms and conditions with any private sector borrowing obtained, generally from banks. In all cases, we look for security to be provided for the loan. We are required to take the best security which is available, and we will tailor our repayment requirements to the capabilities of the business.

Direct investment

We buy shares on commercial terms alongside private sector investors, to share both the risk and the potential return on investment. Again we are funders of last resort and we only invest if the private sector is unwilling or unable to fund the whole deal without our presence. We look to buy ordinary voting shares and our share will always be capped at less than 20 per cent of the equity. If we buy preference shares we will usually make these redeemable and convertible to ordinary voting shares to make sure we have an exit route. Share purchase can be considered alongside grant and loan funding.


For more information on funding, please contact your local HIE office.

Contact HIE

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