REDS project


Who is behind REDS?

REDS was conceived and developed by GrowBiz, a charity based in Perthshire focused on supporting rural enterprise. GrowBiz works in partnership with the Scottish Government, Scotland’s enterprise agencies and business support networks, but it is an independent ‘not-for-profit’ organisation established by local people to develop local rural economies. Funding for this project has been crowdfunded and supported by corporate and public sector bodies. The business support element is provided by GrowBiz and its enterprise delivery partners.


What is the project timeline?

The REDS project was launched as a response to the urgent economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 lockdown. The funding appeal and the Directory have been launched. Enterprise support is available immediately. The intention is for the project to create a long term ongoing resource and support network for the rural economy.


Why is REDS needed?

Rural businesses have been disproportionally affected by the Covid-19 crisis. While government funding packages have provided support to many, there are others that have missed out on eligibility. Government support is also time limited and many businesses will need support beyond the timeframe of the government support packages. This is the short term, urgent need.

Rural businesses often operate in isolation and don’t always know of other businesses in their area that they can work with, resulting in money leaving the rural economy. The REDS directory will provide a resource to enable rural businesses to find each other and work together, which will be further encouraged by the collaborative nature of the REDS grant funding.

The REDS directory


What are the eligibility criteria to be listed on the REDS Directory?


The REDS project aims to support rural small businesses, social enterprise and the self-employed across rural Scotland. Typically that means having fewer than 10 FTE staff, turnover below £500k, and not being based in a town/city with a population over 25,000. We can accept applications from larger rural businesses but ask for a joining donation to the REDS fund - see here for more details.


If you are based in a non-rural area but work extensively with rural organisations, you can be listed but will not be eligible for all of the benefits of being a REDS member. If you are in doubt, please contact us and our advisors will assess your eligibility.


Does a business have to be looking for funding to join the directory?


No, we encourage all rural businesses to join the directory, to help customers and visitors find them. The more businesses and social enterprises are on the directory, the more useful a resource it will be. ​

How much does it cost to join REDS?

There is no up-front fee for small businesses to join the directory but there is a monthly listing subscription of £10 after the first month, which contributes to the REDS fund which will be used to provide grants to rural businesses in need. The subscription includes access to exclusive monthly REDS events and learning sessions. Please review the pricing page for further details. Local discounts or subsidised listing may be available in some locations depending on the partnerships and collaborations GrowBiz develop (for example with local business associations).

Why isn’t the directory free?​

To help build the REDS fund, which will be used to provide support to those businesses and individuals unable to access Covid funding from other channels, membership fees contribute towards the fund. We have also undertaken a Crowdfunding campaign and are actively seeking other sources to help build the REDS fund faster.

How much information will be needed to apply for the REDS directory?


We are aiming to keep the application process as simple as possible, just some basic information, including images, about yourself and your business will be required. 

Will all information captured in directory sign up be made public?

No, some of the information is recorded to help track the project and enable us to match up the best sources of support applicable to you and your business.


How will the directory be maintained to make sure information remains live and current?

It is very important to us that the information in the directory remains current. If your business/information changes at any time you can let us know and the directory will be updated accordingly. We will also be putting in place a robust check process to audit the directory contents regularly to ensure they are up to date.

Does making a pledge to the Crowdfunder campaign contribute towards a directory listing?


All funds being raised through the Crowdfunder campaign will be used to build the REDS fund to provide grants. 

The REDS card


Where can people spend their REDS gift cards?

REDS gift cards can only be spent at participating businesses in rural Scotland, online or in the physical location. There is a dedicated REDS card website, www.RuralScotlandGiftCard.scot detailing all participating businesses. 

Does my business need to be in the REDS directory to be eligible to participate?

Yes, this is an integral part of the REDS project

What are the costs of participating in the REDS card scheme?

If you can already accept credit/debit card payments, there are no additional costs of accepting REDS card payments.

What are the benefits of participating in the REDS card scheme?

Consumers given a REDS gift card will search out places they can spend it. This brings you new potential customers and helps build customer awareness of your business. Typically consumers spending REDS gift cards spend more than the value of the card, paying the balance by another means, bringing additional revenue to your business.

REDS grant support


Are only small rural businesses eligible to receive support? How do I find out if my business qualifies?

The REDS fund is clearly targeted at supporting small businesses, including social enterprises and the self-employed, in rural Scotland. Typically that means having fewer than 10 FTE staff, turnover below £500k, and not being based in a town/city with a population over 25,000. If you are in doubt, please contact us and our advisors will assess your eligibility.

Does my business need to be in the directory to access the grant support?

Yes. But if your business is not yet trading, or temporarily closed, your information doesn’t need to be live on the directory.


When will the grants be available?

Our fundraising has taken longer than expected. At the current time we are not sure when we will be in a position to start awarding grants but we are stll working hard on this element of the REDS project.

How do I apply for a grant? 

Complete the directory application and tick the box that says you wish to apply for funding. If your business is already listed on the directory and you now wish to apply for a REDS grant, please contact us.

Can I use the grant just for my business?

No, part of the purpose of the fund and project is to encourage collaboration between rural businesses. Grants will be allocated on a collaborative basis to be shared equally between the businesses in the application.

Will businesses applying for funding have to know/nominate other partner(s) who they will split the funding with? 

It is anticipated that in most cases the business will nominate the other partner(s) but if they need help identifying a suitable partner GrowBiz will be able to help identify/appoint suitable collaborators.

Do other partners need to be members of the REDS directory?

We expect all successful grant applicants to be members of the REDS directory.

Is the 50/50% split fixed or could it be varied?

In most cases the grant will be equally awarded on a 50/50% basis. Exceptions will be made where more than two businesses are collaborating on a project.

Will there be any form of tendering process?

We expect applicants to seek good value for use of the funds. Where possible we would encourage applicants to seek quotes from more than one potential partner, but we recognise that in many rural communities there may not be a choice of suppliers. The aim of the fund is to inject cash into rural economies and encourage collaboration.

What checks will be in place to ensure the scheme is not abused?

Due diligence will be undertaken by GrowBiz as part of the approval process for grant applications.

Is the aim (like some other recovery funding) just to get the money out into communities in which cases validation/audit may not be so critical, or will it need to be monitored?

It is very important in these circumstances of Covid-19 recovery that the grant funding can be quickly deployed into rural economies. But it’s also important to ensure that the funding is spent on what is detailed in the application.

What sort of projects can the grants be used for?

The criteria for the funding is very flexible. Just a few examples of projects the grants could be used for include: marketing your business; building or refreshing a website or social media presence; installing or improving signage or facilities; moving your financial management to cloud accounting: re-purposing a building or workspace. It can also include personal services such as childcare/elder care (where this is essential to the business operating) and health support.

What will the decision process and decision criteria be for awarding funding? Who will decide which projects get funded and how much they receive?

The GrowBiz REDS team will carry out an initial assessment of the application, with checks as required. Recommendations will be made and the final decision on funding will then be made by an independent panel.

How much information will be needed to apply for funding and how will it be validated/policed to ensure legitimate?

We are aiming to keep the application process as simple as possible. Details of the purpose of the activity or project and proposed partner(s) will be required. The application will be checked by the GrowBiz team to ensure it meets eligibility criteria.

REDS Enterprise Support


Who will deliver enterprise support across Scotland in areas GrowBiz doesn’t reach?

Delivery partners across Scotland include HIE, Scottish Enterprise, SOSE and Business Gateway. But GrowBiz will also work with a wider set of partners with specialist expertise such as Young Enterprise Scotland, Scottish Edge, Can Do Places and Women’s Enterprise Scotland.


Is the enterprise support being paid for through the crowdfunding activity or directory subscriptions?

No. The crowdfunding campaign is to build up funds to be allocated to the REDS grants that will be paid to support rural businesses. The directory fees will cover the running costs of maintaining the directory website. The business support element is being provided free of charge and will be funded through the existing funding support provided to GrowBiz and its delivery partners.


When can I access this support?

REDS enterprise support is available immediately. Please get in touch.