About the REDS Initiative
REDS is an initiative led by GrowBiz, a charity based in Perthshire founded by local people supporting micro-businesses and social enterprises across rural Scotland.
In the months preceding the launch of REDS, the GrowBiz team has witnessed the hardships and suffering experienced by those who have poured years of hard work into building successful micro-enterprises and watched them collapse overnight as a result of the COVID19 lockdown. Many have been left unable to re-open. From food producers and artists, to carers and digital designers, we have supported Scotland's rural entrepreneurs for more than 10 years, and we are with them now more than ever as the Coronavirus crisis has a disproportionate effect on their livelihoods and quality of life.
The Scottish and UK governments have provided much-needed temporary funding for many businesses. But if small enterprises are to recover long-term, they’ll need access to ongoing flexible finance and support.
The REDS initiative aims to support the rural economy in several ways:
Connecting individuals of the rural economy
We have created an online directory for all rural businesses in Scotland - Rural Enterprise Directory Scotland (REDS). This directory will be the route for small businesses in rural Scotland to access financial and enterprise support.
The directory will promote businesses and encourage trade and support between them, benefiting the entire rural economy of Scotland. Member exclusive learning sessions and networking events support this connection as well as providing the opportunity to upskill and learn from other rural businesses experience.
The REDS card
REDS members can opt to join the REDS card scheme at no additional cost. This innovative gift card program offers card holders the choice of buying a wide range of products and experiences from rural businesses, and locks in spend to the rural economy. Find out more here.
Free support services
All those who apply for membership will be offered enterprise support and advice from GrowBiz and our partners, including assistance to apply for additional grants and loans from other sources.
REDS will bring together the many agencies, support organisations, and experts that work to support enterprise here in Scotland and match businesses to the support they need most.
All support will be free and ongoing.
50:50 grants to support twice as many business owners
Grants for micro-enterprises undertaking projects which strengthen and adapt their businesses for the longer-term.
In the interest of helping as many business owners as possible, and to keep money circulating within rural communities, all grants will be distributed on a 50:50 principle: 50% of the grant will go to the business requiring support, and 50% to whichever business(es) will provide the services required
To address the funding support gap felt acutely by rural areas, priority will be given to sole traders and micro-businesses (businesses with 9 or fewer employees) which do not qualify for the existing higher-level COVID response finance schemes.
How REDS Supports Rural Business Owners
The REDS initiative is a dedicated source of financial and enterprise support designed especially for micro-businesses in rural areas.
Our initial fundraising target of £3 million will provide critical grant funding to more than 1000 micro-enterprises, social enterprises, and sole traders across rural Scotland.
Every enterprise we can assist creates jobs, builds stronger communities, and leads to longer-term opportunities for everyone. Please pledge whatever you can to keep Scotland's rural economy going in these difficult times.