Keep Rural Scotland Open For All Of Us To Enjoy
Who are we?
The REDS fund is an initiative led by GrowBiz Scotland, a charity based in Perthshire, founded by local people in a rural community. In partnership with many other organisations, we support micro-businesses and social enterprises across rural Scotland.
What are we doing?
From nurseries to food producers, and accommodation providers to artists, we have supported thousands of people to start and build their own businesses in Scotland's rural areas.
Since March 2020, we have witnessed the hardship and suffering of the small, independent business community as their successful enterprises collapsed overnight as a result of the COVID19 lockdown.
The Scottish and UK governments have provided much-needed temporary funding for many businesses, but thousands of small enterprises and self-employed people still need urgent support to survive and recover. Following lockdown, tens of thousands of Scotland’s rural businesses had to close their doors, with many doubting their ability to re-open.
Why is this fund only for rural businesses, and what counts as rural?
We champion and support the entrepreneurs, self-employed and business community that operate outwith Scotland's major towns and cities because their challenges and obstacles to growth are different from their urban counterparts.
Setting up a business outwith Scotland's major economic hubs throws up all sorts of extra headaches such as;
- Increased distance from manufacturers, suppliers and/or customers adds to transportation costs and timings.
- Lower levels of footfall or passing trade and in many instances a heavy reliance on tourism.
- Frustratingly poor - and in some instances non-existent - digital connectivity.
- Access to talent, networks, and collaborative business opportunities.
But, as a nation, we desperately need small businesses to thrive in rural Scotland. These small businesses are the lifeblood of smaller communities and the catalysts to sustainable prosperity across our regions. These small enterprises provide jobs for people, opportunities for others to start complementary businesses and provide reasons for people to visit and move to the area.
If we don't support these small businesses by providing them with access to small levels of flexible grant funding they won't be able to re-open and the growing levels of depopulation in our rural areas may snowball.
We class rural as any location with a population under 25,000. You can read more about the criteria we have in place to administer the grant funds on our website FAQ.
Once more for clarity
The REDS fund will provide flexible grants to social enterprises and small businesses in Scotland’s rural towns, villages, island communities and remotest regions - to get them and their communities back up and running.
Priority will be given to young people who want to develop their business ideas to create jobs for themselves and their peers.
We need your help to contribute whatever you can to the REDS Fund - and to encourage your friends, families and colleagues to pledge too. Together we can ensure rural Scotland remains 'open' for now and the future.
- To raise an initial £3 million, which will provide critical grant funding to people across rural Scotland.
- To get the thousands of micro-enterprises and self-employed people across Scotland's towns, villages, coastal communities and remote regions back on their feet.
- To help young people with their business ideas.
More About REDS
REDS is a membership programme for Scotland’s rural and island businesses. By establishing a community of business owners, self-employed and social enterprises that live and work in rural Scotland, REDS promotes the values and diversity of Scotland’s rural economy and will support the long term prosperity of these businesses.
Under 4 core initiatives, REDS is driving sustainable economic prosperity back into Scotland's rural business community post-COVID-19.
Grant Funding & the 50:50 Principle
To help as many businesses as possible, and to keep money circulating within rural communities, all grants will be distributed on a 50:50 principle: 50% of the grant will go to the applicant business, and 50% to the rural business(es) providing the services required. This could include, for example; contracting a local joiner to provide new fixtures needed for re-opening; or hiring someone to develop a new website for online sales; or even covering the costs of child or elderly care to allow someone to get their business back up and running.
Free Enterprise Support
Any business applying for REDS grant funding will be offered support with their application and free enterprise support and advice from GrowBiz and our network of partners across Scotland.
The REDS Online Directory
Every rural business or social enterprise applying for a grant will register on the REDS Directory - creating a unique source of information on who and where Scotland's rural enterprises are located. Take a look at this interactive map view of our members so far.
REDS Card - A Gift Card for Rural Scotland
REDS members can participate in the REDS Card, an innovative gift card scheme designed to protect and encourage spending in Scotland's rural economy.
REDS Cards work like any other gift card but can only be redeemed with participating REDS members. Gift cardholders can choose from over 150 rural and island businesses, with more members joining every day.
Take a look at the REDS Card here.
Stay informed and join the directory
If you are a rural business interested in joining the directory, applying for a grant, or you would simply like to follow our progress in supporting rural enterprises in Scotland then please join the REDS mailing list here.
Find out more about REDS by visiting our website.
Where Does Your Pledge Go?
100% of all pledges are added to the REDS Fund to provide grants to rural enterprises.