A £675,000 Green Business Support programme in Glasgow is helping local companies transition to Net-Zero, reduce their energy costs and become more resilient to climate change.

The programme – which aims to improve small and medium sized enterprises’ (SMEs’) knowledge and capacity and accelerate delivery – is part of the work of the Glasgow Green Deal, a nine-year mission to transform the city’s economy to tackle the climate and ecological emergency.   

The programme consists of two elements – Green Business Grants, and advice and support.

The Green Business Grants will support a minimum of 50 SMEs in Glasgow, targeted at activities which address both the cost of living and climate crises, such as energy efficiency, renewables, active travel and waste management; with the remainder allowing enhanced advice and support for at least 250 SMEs as they transition to net-zero carbon and climate resilience.

This support – part-funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund – is tailored to businesses in the city, to help build awareness and understanding of necessary actions, increase speed of access to funding, and to innovate in areas where support is not currently provided, but where there is an emerging need.

Green Business Grants will be made available up to a value of £10,000 for SMEs who can provide 50% match-funding, with a total grant of £20,000 of investment into activities that reduce carbon emissions and help address the cost-of-living crisis.  The grant can be used for anything that will help a business make progress towards net-zero carbon emissions and result in long-term sustained reductions in energy bills. This includes energy efficiency, replacement doors and windows, heat pumps, Solar PV, replacement of equipment with energy efficient alternatives such as active travel and EV infrastructure, as well as activities that reduce the amount of waste produced.

The grant is now open for applications for small or medium-sized businesses located, or with their headquarters in, Glasgow.  It will close to new applications on 30 June 2023 or when budget is fully allocated (whichever is earlier), and all projects must be completed by 31 December 2023.  More information on the Green Business Support programme is available at: www.glasgow.gov.uk/greenbusinesssupport.

Councillor Angus Millar, Convener for Climate and the Glasgow Green Deal at Glasgow City Council, said: “Businesses have a central role to play in the economic transition to Net Zero, and I am delighted the council is bringing forward this Green Business support initiative. This programme will help SMEs in Glasgow meet the challenges they face in transitioning to Net Zero, building resilience and reducing energy costs. Investment made now by companies will yield benefits for them and the whole city in the medium and long-term, and through this programme we will help to deliver these. I’d encourage all SMEs to get in touch with the council’s Business Advisors to see what support they might be eligible for.”

In addition, the council is supporting a wider programme of advice and support to support SMEs on their journey. The advice programme will see the council partnering with a range of organisations to enhance the breadth and depth of support to businesses on their journey to net zero. This will build on ‘Step up to Net Zero’ programme funded by Glasgow City Council and delivered by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, which is supporting 40 businesses to assess the potential of the circular economy for their businesses, develop an action plan and create a placement to take it forward.

Finally, alongside the mainstream advice to SMEs, Glasgow City Council has also funded a pilot to develop SME support on resilience to the impacts of climate change. The pilot will see the council testing a variety of approaches (such as sectoral and place-based) to identify those approaches which are most effective and scale them up in future rounds of business support. 

Ruth Wolstenholme, Managing Director at sustainability charity, Sniffer, said: “We’re delighted to be working on this pilot in Glasgow to support SMEs not only transition to Net Zero but also become climate resilient.  As host of COP26, Glasgow has a responsibility to innovate and lead on delivering the goals of the Paris Agreement and the Glasgow Climate Pact.  Over the next year, we’ll work together to do just that – identifying the best ways to support SMEs to become more resilient to hotter summers, flash flooding and rising sea levels.  We are proud to be helping breathe life into this commitment in the city’s Adaptation Plan and the wider Glasgow City Region Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan.”

The support programme was a key commitment in the Glasgow Economic Strategy, and the Glasgow Green Deal, as well as the City’s Climate Adaptation Plan. It also contributes to both the Glasgow City Region Economic Strategy and Glasgow City Region Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan. Information on the available support will be made available on the council website and replicated through national support programmes. The programme has been part-funded through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF), with £500,000 of Green Business Grants coming from the SPF, and £175,000 of advice and support coming from Glasgow City Council resource.