Growing your business

Regional selective assistance grant

Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grants

Funding for projects that will create or protect jobs

Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grants are available to help projects that will create or protect jobs in Scotland.

The amount offered depends on:

  • The size of your business
  • The location of the project
  • Our assessment of how much is needed for the project to go ahead

Am I eligible?

RSA is available to limited companies, sole traders or partnerships. Large businesses will only be eligible if the project involves diversification at an existing location or new activity taking place on a new site.

You can apply whether your business is based in Scotland or not – but the project must take place in Scotland.

We'll consider your approach to fair work practices, including payment of the Real Living Wage during the project, transparency on gender-equal pay and use of zero-hour contracts.

The Real Living Wage is currently £9 per hour and is higher than the National Living Wage (currently £8.21 per hour for workers aged 25 and over).

Real Living Wage guidance from the Living Wage Foundation

Qualifying criteria

To qualify, your project must meet ALL the following criteria:

  • Take place within an assisted area in Scotland
  • Directly create or safeguard jobs that pay the Real Living Wage within your business
  • Should not be offset by job losses elsewhere
  • Involve an element of capital investment
  • Be mainly funded from the private sector, including the company's own cash resources
  • Be financially viable, make commercial sense and contribute to Scotland's economy

You’ll be required to show that your project needs RSA to proceed.

If you’re already committed to undertaking the project or if we think the project would proceed anyway, RSA will not be offered.

Project assessment

We’ll review your project and the amount of grant available will depend on assessment of many factors, including:

  • Location, size and cost of your project
  • Size of your business
  • Number of jobs created or protected
  • Quality and type of these jobs

Through RSA, we aim for overall gains in net employment in Scotland. We are therefore more likely to assist projects which service markets wider than Scotland only, and/or where competitors are largely based outside Assisted Areas.

The grant is discretionary and the level offered (within EC limits) will depend on our assessment of how much is needed to make the project go ahead.

Certain activities may be subject to special European Community (EC) restrictions on aid. We can advise you on this and answer any queries you have about eligibility when you contact us.


What level of funding is available?

Aid for initial investment

For projects that require significant investment in capital expenditure, RSA can offer ‘Aid for Initial investment’.

To calculate the amount of grant available we take account of:

  • Location and size of your business
  • Amount of eligible capital expenditure relating to the project
  • Number of jobs created or safeguarded at the project premises as a direct result of the project and that pay the Real Living Wage

Aid for job creation

Projects that will create new jobs but involve relatively low levels of capital expenditure can still be eligible for assistance through 'Aid for job creation'.

To calculate the amount of grant available, we take account of a proportion of the first two years' salary costs of the jobs created by the project that pay the Real Living Wage.

Aid for job creation does not apply to any safeguarded jobs.

By project location and business size

Depending on the location of your project and the size of your business, different levels of RSA are available. Scotland has two tiers, referred to as Tier 2 and Tier 3.

Use our postcode checker to find out what tier your project is in and what level of funding could be available to you.

Postcode checker

The table below shows a broad indication of the maximum aid available towards eligible expenditure for different-sized businesses within each tier of Scotland, (Regional Aid Guidelines1 July 2014 - 2020).

  Large businesses Medium businesses Small businesses
Tier 2* Up to 10% Up to 20% Up to 30%
Tier 3 Nil Up to 10% Up to 20%

*Tier 2 limits are 5% higher in some parts of the Highlands and Islands area.

European Commission's definition of an SME

You’ll get further guidance once we receive of your completed initial enquiry form.

How to apply

To avoid having multiple live grants, we advise you to take a two to three-year view when considering a project. However, it is possible to have more than one live RSA offer at a time.

You can apply for a second or third grant. The first RSA grant enables you to properly establish your business project, while a second grant enables you to take it to a higher level.

Get started with our step-by-step guide

Step 1

Fill in an initial enquiry

The first step is to complete the initial enquiry form and send to, giving an overview of your eligible project.

We’ll review your information and provide feedback on the initial details of your project.

If appropriate, an appraisal executive will contact you to set up a meeting and take you through the application process.

Step 2

Make your application

The next stage of the process for all grants is to complete an application form, including financial projections to support your application:

Advice on how to complete each Annex is given within the documents. You should also provide the last two sets of audited accounts where appropriate.

The application form must be signed in pen by an executive director or company secretary. You can then either post the form to us or email a scanned copy to

Step 3


We’ll send you an acknowledgement email once we’ve received your application. Your case will be assigned to an appraisal executive.

Work on your application will not start until it’s considered fully documented.

During the appraisal, we may ask for clarification on some aspects of your application. The appraisal may benefit from a further meeting or visit to local premises.

Step 4

Approval process

Once your application for RSA has been approved, you’ll be allocated a grant manager. Your appraisal executive and grant manager will work closely together, particularly in the early stages of the project.

The grant manager will issue an offer letter which clearly sets out all the conditions of your grant. This is a legal document. It’s vital that you read it carefully before signing and returning a copy to your grant manager, who will be available to answer any queries.

Step 5

Request a review

If you believe any decision during the grant process is unsound, or if you can supply more information, contact us to request a review.

You must clearly set out why you believe the decision to be unsound. Our decision will fully reconsider the extra information or explanations provided.

Contact our team to learn more

Got a question about our RSA grants? Get in touch to see how we can help.