What is the Business Transition Fund?

A new Business Transition Fund is being established to support businesses to build back better from the impacts of the pandemic, with a focus on solutions such as improving digital resilience, physical adaption, Net Zero improvements/energy efficiencies or other interventions which will support their recovery as well as attract and retain talent.

This fund is aimed at Aberdeen businesses with growth potential, to support their recovery by adapting their business to meet the challenges of the post Covid-19 economic landscape.

Engagement with businesses during the Covid restrictions has highlighted a number of areas of concern. Immediate financial distress, changes to operating practices and additional regulations have left many businesses with inadequate financial power to adapt to the changing landscape. Additional challenges created due to lack of income are costs associated with new ways of working, development of new processes to reflect new markets, upgrading systems to reflect new regulations and inability to diversify.

As a direct result of the restrictions, many businesses have experienced their markets reduce, supply chain disruption and a requirement to shift to a more digital offering.

The purpose of the fund is to support businesses who are not able, due to immediate financial pressures, to adapt to new ways of working or to make investment towards remaining competitive in a post Covid-19 economy.

How to Apply 

To apply for a grant please first read the full criteria and guidance on this page. This is a more substantial application than previous Covid-19 grants, so we recommend that you have all the necessary information and supporting documents you require at hand before starting.

The following grant support will be available based on the size of the enterprise and proposal potential:

  • Soletraders/ Individuals : Up to £5,000
  • Micro Business: (2-9 employees not including directors, partners or spouses): Up to £10,000
  • Small Business (10 to 49 employees): Up to £20,000
  • Medium Business (50 -250 employees): Up to £30,000
  • Exceptional Cases – Large Business (250+): Grant level will be case by case and require committee approval


  • The business must have a trading address in Aberdeen city local authority boundary
  • Business should be micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (250 employees or fewer) and the self-employed which have growth potential.*
  • Companies must provide evidence that turnover figures are generated solely by their Aberdeen city operations to ensure support is targeted at predominantly local companies.
  • Must be able to present robust evidence (e.g. yearend accounts, profit and loss accounts, invoices and receipts, details of contracts lost, cancelled customer bookings) to show that income has been negatively affected by covid restrictions
  • The company must be eligible for support under subsidy control measures.
  • Must be able to demonstrate the impact and immediate need for investment and associated financial restrictions placed on business.
  • Must have a business bank account.
  • Business premises (where applicable) must be registered for non-domestic rates. Businesses that pay rates through their landlords rather than directly must provide evidence of this.
  • Open to Limited Companies (including Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations and social enterprises), trusts, partnerships, community interest companies.
  • Sole-traders and can apply but only on the basis they were registered as a business before October 2020 and their proposal has growth potential.
  • Non-premise-based businesses will be required to provide evidence to demonstrate proof of identity (e.g. passport) and address (e.g. Council tax bill, utility bill);
  • Businesses will be required to provide evidence of active trading in the period before restrictions came into place on 9 October 2020.

*Companies with staff numbers over 250 can apply under exceptional circumstances, these applications will require prior consultation with officers and any grant awards will need approval at committee.

To qualify for grant funding, you/your business could be a sole trader (self-employed), partnership, limited company, community interest company, company limited by guarantee, or an industrial and provident society. Not for profit businesses, co-operatives, social enterprises and charities are welcome to apply, provided these entities have a trading arm that fits within one of these legal definitions.

Investment costs relating to growing or diversifying a business will be considered under the scheme. These might include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Acquiring, fitting out, or refurbishing premises for the use of the business.
  • Launch, marketing, and publicity costs for new business activity or product.
  • Vehicles, only if essential to the operation of the business – e.g. electric delivery van, forklift etc.
  • Plant and machinery which enable the business to function.
  • Items such as computers, equipment and other tools which enable the business to function. Purchase and/or lease/hire costs may also be considered.
  • Energy efficiency upgrades, such as lighting, windows, walls or energy options including solar panels, small-scale wind turbines and air source heating.
  • Specialist training for staff.
  • Salaries of staff, existing or new.
  • Existing business running costs such as rent, utility bills or insurances.
  • Payment of bank loans or similar debts.
  • Investment in premises out with Aberdeen city.

The Business Transition Fund aims to maximise the number of jobs safeguarded or created, that is; a job is defined as permanent if the contract is for at least 12 months and for at least 15 hours/week. A full-time post must be 30+ hours/week; and a part-time post 15-29 hours/week. Employment of freelancers and/or apprentices can be considered, with full-time equivalency on the same basis as part-time work. In this case you must state the business case for this form of employment over conventional direct employment, and say why this is a sustainable arrangement.

Jobs must be contracted directly to the applicant. Jobs achieved by tenants or sub-contractors are ineligible. However tenants and sub-contractors may apply in their own right if eligible to do so, and packaged applications from two or more businesses may also be considered.

Aside from the questions of eligibility, the application process is designed to test whether you have a viable and sustainable business proposition, which will benefit the local economy and expand employment within the district. You will need to demonstrate that you have:

  • A good business plan with market research to support your proposal.
  • The skills to put your plan into operation.
  • While there is no match funding criteria requirement you must have sufficient funding in place to invest, which together with the grant, will enable delivery.

These contributing factors will be assessed as part of the Council’s appraisal of your full application.

The level of information required by the Council will be proportionate to the amount of grant being sought.

Your business plan should set out your plans and how you are going to realise them. As part of your business planning you will need to:

  • Carry out market research to identify a market for your goods/services, identify your competitors and price your goods/services competitively.
  • Produce a marketing plan.
  • Identify capital requirements and assess options (e.g. for premises and equipment).
  • Assess your current structure in light of your plans for growth.
  • Assess the skills needed to manage, run and grow your business and decide where to find those skills (e.g. from existing staff or board members, from buying in professional services, by creating new jobs).
  • For prospective new jobs or apprentices, decide on full-time, part-time or freelance, assess the skills required, salary levels and recruitment methodology.
  • Work out the full costs of employment and the costs and timetable for recruitment.
  • Consider the training and development requirements of your current and planned workforce.
  • Produce a budget and future cash flow, which is compatible with your projections on cost and sales as well as demonstrating how the business will become viable and sustainable and how the grant will contribute.
  • Check on permissions required (e.g. planning, building control).
  • Work out a timetable for your investment including key milestones, purchases and job starts.
  • Carry out a risk analysis, identifying risks, seriousness, likelihood and mitigating action.
  • Undertake a sensitivity analysis to assess the financial impact of (for example) higher costs or lower sales, and to show the break-even point.
  • Any impact from tax allowances that may be available to businesses.

If your Transition costs are out with the available grants for the size of your business, you will need to ensure you can source the additional investment to deliver the proposal. This can take the form of the Company’s reserves, loans or share equity, and you must show it is available to be spent at the time you apply to the Council for a grant.

You will also need to demonstrate that you have pursued all other reasonable ways of financing your contribution to the delivery of the project. This includes approaching commercial banks for loans.

You will need to provide the following documents as proof of business

Recent Business Bank statement in the name of the business. Statement should clearly showbusiness related transactions.

  • Business Organisation Document select the most appropriate option for your business type:
    • Company (inc. Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations and Community Interest Companies): Certificate of Incorporation or Companies House/SCIO registration number.
    • Partnership: Partnership agreement or HMRC registration.
    • Sole Trader: HMRC registration, Self-assessment documents or valid business insurance document.
    • Trust: Constitution documents, HMRC registration or VAT registration document.
  • Business premises registered for non-domestic rates, confirmation (ref number). Businesses that pay rates through their landlords rather than directly must provide evidence of this through lease.
  • Non premise-based businesses will be required to provide evidence to demonstrate proof of identity (e.g. passport) and address (e.g. Council tax bill, utility bill)
  • For Micro and SME’s: Confirmation of the number of employees and provide evidence you employed at least two or more staff. Evidence can include, but is not limited to:
    • a payroll records, HMRC PAYE registration and reports for October 2020 or prior and/or successful application to the Coronavirus Job Retention (“Furlough”) Scheme.
  • Current business plan.

Evidence of need and readiness for investment

These may vary depending on the level of investment but may include:

  • Any relevant market research undertaken, evidencing the need for transition
  • 1 years projected balance sheet and profit and loss statements (for the business/investment project)
  • 1 years monthly cash flow forecast (including any forecast loan repayments) (for the business/investment project)
  • Up to 2 years statutory audited/unaudited/drafted accounts (dependent on how long the business has been in existence and size of business)
  • A detailed fully costed Transition Project Budget
  • Proof of planning approvals, licences or similar (if applicable) (If not provided with the application, these will be required before offer letter is signed)
  • Copies of quotes and costings for transition work to be undertaken.
  • Evidence of private match funding listed on the application form, including bank statement and evidence other loans sought or obtained

These are some examples of the type of Business Transition which may be eligible for support. These examples are purely for illustration and is not intended to be an exhaustive list as other forms of transition may be eligible.

Digital Resilience

Many businesses had had to shift their business presence online as an ad hoc reactive measure to continue trading through restrictions. Understandably the systems put in place may not be fit for purpose and challenging to manage longer-term. As such a business may want to transition to a more sophisticated online presence and platform, with greater automation to meet the needs of their current customer base. This will also enable them to grow a wider customer base in the future.

Net Zero

Businesses may be operating from an older premise with a lower efficiency rated Energy Performance Certificate which is resulting in higher utility bills. A business may want to improve efficiencies and lower running costs by making improvements to energy efficiency of lighting, windows or walls, exploring low carbon energy options including solar panels, small-scale wind turbines and air source heating.

Building adaption/ small capital/ machinery

As direct result of the changes in trading activity during the pandemic many businesses may be seeking to upgrade or expand their premise. Examples may be upgrading ventilation systems, refitting to increase capacity or diversify sales. Similarly, transition may include purchase of new machinery and plant to increase efficiency and or production.

Workforce skills development

As with any business transition there is often a need for specialist workforce development vital to safeguarding jobs and ensuring investment is successfully delivering transition. This may include training in the use of specialist machinery, digital upskilling for new systems and processes.

For eligible businesses our target is to turnaround completed applications for payment within 15 working days from submission. If your application is incomplete or additional checks and information is required, this may take significantly longer. Date of payment from notification of award will also depend on how long your bank takes to progress BACs payments (typically 3-5 working days).

Please note this is a more substantial application than previous Covid-19 grant as the focus is on the business’s investment need. It is anticipated the application will take between 30 to 45 minutes to complete depending on if you have all the required documents and evidence at hand. The application is split into 3 stages:

  • Business Details. This section focuses on your organisation's main contact and high-level information.
  • Business Transition. This section focuses on how why the funds are required and how they will be utilised if awarded.
  • Investment and Jobs. This section focuses on how your organisation will grow should the application be successful and funds awarded.

You have the option to tick which section you want to complete during a session, or you can complete them all in one sitting. Please note if you start a stage and do not complete it, this stage will not be saved, only begin a stage if you intend to complete it. 

You can download an offline version of the application questions to consider your answers in advance of completing the final application form:

While Council officers are not able to support you to write your application, they can provide clarification on criteria and evidence requirements at businessgrowthteam@aberdeencity.gov.uk 

Businesses can get assistance in preparing their applications and supporting evidence at Business Gateway , third sector businesses can also get support in completing their applications at ACVO.

If you did not get a confirmation email or reference number then unfortunately your application has not been received.  In most cases this is due to your session ‘timing out’ so it’s important to have your evidence ready to upload when you apply.  The reference number is generated automatically when you begin the application, this does not mean the application has submitted unless you receive the confirmation email.

Another issue is your device or browser may need to be updated, if you are using Internet Explorer or Safari you may want to try using Chrome instead to see if this resolves your issues.

If you are unsuccessful and dissatisfied with the decision you have the right to appeal through the online grant appeal form. A link to the appeal will be provided with your decision notification.

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