Aberdeenshire's small businesses urged to consider support from First Employee Grant Scheme

Small businesses in their first stages of growth in Aberdeenshire are being urged to consider whether a recently relaunched grant could help them expand.

The First Employee Grant Scheme offers £1,000 to businesses taking on their first employee and aims to help employers through the recruitment process.

If a business qualifies for support it receives £500 when it takes on a new employee and £500 after six months if the post is still filled.

It is not important how long a business has been in existence only that it has aspirations for growth and is seeking to take on its first employee.

One full time post must be created at a minimum of 30 hours per week, but can be filled by two part time workers.

The grant will not be given to businesses which are part of a group of companies or have a parent company.
Aberdeenshire Council’s Support for Aberdeenshire Business (SAB) project has been revised to accommodate the reintroduction of the grant scheme, last operational in January 2016.

SAB Development Grants, which include marketing grants and grants to assist in the implementation of a recognised quality system, now have a maximum amount of £10,000.

The SAB Sustainable Business Grant has been discontinued, with alternative grants offered by Resource Efficient Scotland and other bodies.

All loans under £25,000 will now be offered at 3% interest but there will be no setup fees. 

For more information on the First Employee Grant Scheme or help available under the SAB project please contact the Business Gateway Manager on (01467 534304), or email: econdev@aberdeenshire.gov.uk 

More information is also available online: http://bit.ly/2gknBu1

Greenman Woodworking case study

Grant funding brings ‘layers of benefit’ to woodworking business

Richard Kent of Greenman Woodworking had considered taking on an apprentice for years, but thought it was beyond the realms of possibility. In October this year, having run his business for 10 years - seven of which have been in Aberdeenshire - he took on 19 year old apprentice, Jacob Whitaker with support from Aberdeenshire Council’s First Employee Grant (FEG) scheme.

The business, which is based in Torphins and has a workshop in Crathes, offers carpentry and joinery services as well as bespoke woodwork and wood carving.  A number of diverse projects are showcased on the company website, and the customer base spans across the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire area. 

As Richard explains, “It is a whole new experience taking on an apprentice. Jacob had been doing work experience prior to being taken on, and I did my own research to see what help might be available for me to employ him as a trainee. My research took me to the Aberdeenshire Council website which led to me applying for two grants.”

One of the grants was the First Employee Grant (FEG), a scheme which was re-introduced in October 2017, offering a £1,000 grant to assist businesses in taking on a first employee.

Richard said, “The grant has made a big difference in enabling the apprenticeship, and was a massive incentive in helping with initial setup costs.  Due to the time spent teaching and training, productivity has naturally slowed in this early phase, and there was also an initial investment for safety equipment and PPE.

“Applying for the grant was a fairly straightforward process, with a few forms to fill in and copies of supporting documentation to be submitted. The Aberdeenshire Council staff I’ve dealt with have been helpful and I appreciate the support available to small businesses in Scotland and Aberdeenshire.  I’ve also been attending courses and training through Business Gateway and I feel lucky to have access to these opportunities.

“Taking on an apprentice has been a lot of work, but it is something I have wanted to do for years, and it is now a reality thanks to the support and incentives available. There really are layers of benefit that can come from applying for a grant.”

For further information on the business visit www.greenmanwoodworking.co.uk

Find out more about the business support available from Aberdeenshire Council, including the First Employee Grant Scheme, at http://bit.ly/EconDevAbshire