Business grants

Ecosystem Fund

The Ecosystem Fund - now closed, awardees announced

This fund is for organisations that support Scottish entrepreneurs, start-up activity, or enterprise education. We're looking for ideas that fill gaps and propel the business community forward, with a particular focus on helping entrepreneurs from under-represented groups.

Download the full list of 2023-2024 awardees of The Ecosystem Fund.

About the fund

The Ecosystem Fund is now open to proposals from ecosystem partners and intermediary organisations. We welcome proposals for funding to help deliver innovative and inclusive entrepreneurship support activities across Scotland and internationally.

The fund is an evolution of the Scottish Government’s STER Tech fund, in line with Scotland's National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET). Specifically, it draws on the Pathways Report recommendations to foster entrepreneurial education, diversity, and inclusion activity, encouraging a broader range of partners to submit proposals for project funding.

The Ecosystem Fund is a Scottish Government initiative delivered by Scottish Enterprise.

Learn more about NSET on

Read the Pathways Report on

What's its purpose?

The Ecosystem Fund is for organisations that can enrich Scotland's start-up ecosystem. It’s designed to help support Scottish entrepreneurs to access the resources, knowledge, connections, and capital to thrive.

Funding will create new — or broaden existing — activities for more people to access. It will also encourage:

  • Skills development
  • Ideas exchange and collaboration
  • Access to expert guidance
  • Greater levels of innovation
  • Greater access to non-public funding channels
  • Increased visibility for Scottish entrepreneurs

The fund is opportunity focused — we’re looking for ideas that fill gaps and propel the start-up community forward.

Successful organisations will demonstrate their ability to strengthen networks, accelerate growth, inspire new start-ups, and drive economic impact.

The fund aims to nurture the conditions for Scottish entrepreneurship to flourish through events, education, research, increased accessibility and inclusion, or other means.

Who’s eligible for funding?

While the Ecosystem Fund seeks to nurture start-up businesses, it does not provide direct funding for individual companies to grow. Rather, the fund is designed to strengthen infrastructure, resources, and support activities accessible to the start-up community.

Applicants need to show how they will launch new initiatives, or meaningfully improve existing ones, to increase the benefits to start-up businesses.

We welcome proposals from:

  • Ecosystem builders — organisations such as incubators, accelerators, dedicated entrepreneurial support organisations, and community groups that support entrepreneurs through programming, resources, and events
  • Industry associations and non-profits — groups empowering early-stage entrepreneurialism and start-ups in their communities
  • Universities and education/training programmes — academic institutions looking to create new activities to foster entrepreneurial skills and innovation through competitions, for example
  • Established companies delivering new partnership projects with start-ups — or educational establishments — through pilots, tech acquisitions, or accelerator programmes
  • Private organisations, experienced in entrepreneurial development, whose proposals widen the early-stage entrepreneur and start-up community to under-represented demographics

Read the Ecosystem Fund proposal guidance document for details (PDF, 408kB)

What kind of proposals are we looking for?

The fund is open to proposals that align with five themes:

  • Entrepreneurial social infrastructure
  • International spotlight on Scottish entrepreneurship
  • Sustainable impact and deep scaling
  • Widening participation to under-represented groups
  • Entrepreneurial education

Read the Ecosystem Fund proposal guidance document for details (PDF, 408kB)

How much funding is available?

We’re looking for proposals between £10,000 and £50,000. In special circumstances, a very limited number of higher awards may be available if the proposal demonstrates clear strategic economic importance and impact.

However, it’s important to be aware that all activity must be delivered, and funding must be spent, by 31 March 2024. This is a hard deadline, so your proposed projects must be feasible for delivery in this timescale.

What’s the timeline?

Important dates in the timeline of the Ecosystem Fund:

  • Fund opens — Wednesday 30 August 2023
  • Online information and Q&A event 1 — 2pm-3pm Friday 1 September 2023
  • Online information and Q&A event 2 — 10am-11am Monday 4 September 2023
  • Closing date for proposals — 1pm Monday 25th September 2023
  • Funding awarded — during October 2023
  • Delivery of proposed activity — from October 2023 - 31 March 2024
  • Deadline to invoice for final instalments of award — 31 March 2024

Read the Q&As from the online sessions on Friday 1 and Monday 4 September 2023 (PDF, 136kB).

How can I find out more and apply?

To apply, download the proposal form and send your completed version to 

You can also contact us at with any queries you have prior to sending us your proposal.

Download the Ecosystem Fund proposal form (Word, 110kB)

Sign up for our email updates

Stay up to date with the latest announcements, funding opportunities, events, webinars, and exporting news.