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Scottish Government pledges £13m to struggling event firms

The Scottish Government has announced a £13m support fund for event businesses unable to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the £13m, £6m has been committed to a new fund, The Pivotal Event Businesses Fund which is being made available this week. This new package is in addition to the £10m events fund package announced in July this year.

The Pivotal Event Businesses Fund will provide grants from £25,000 up to a maximum of £150,000 to support approximately 50 to 100 event businesses whose primary role as organisers, suppliers, contractors and venues is critical to the survival of the events sector in Scotland.

“The events sector has faced severe challenges throughout 2020 as the restrictions necessary to contain the coronavirus pandemic have left most businesses unable to operate. While the arrival of a vaccine offers grounds for hope, the events sector and its wider supply chain will continue to experience difficulties for some time to come,” said culture secretary Fiona Hyslop.

“We were able to provide financial support for the events sector in the autumn but we have continued to listen and we acknowledge that further funding is required. This additional £13 million will allow us to help hard-pressed businesses going forward and ensure that they are ready to support the recovery when it is safe to operate again.”

Organisations applying to the fund must meet the eligibility criteria including having an annual turnover in excess of £500k prior to the COVID-19 pandemic; be directly involved in the delivery and organisation of at least five major events, festival or business events each year; employ a minimum number of staff, and events must be the primary source of the organisation’s income.

The remaining £7m will be made available in a separate fund to provide support to businesses across the event sector, including those in the supply chain. Plans for this fund will be announced in the new year.

“Scotland has a well-earned reputation for delivering successful events at local, national and international level,” added Hyslop.

“We are working collaboratively with the industry to ensure that the sector has a future to look forward to and that we maintain our position as the perfect stage for events.”

How to apply for The Pivotal Event Businesses Fund:

The Pivotal Event Businesses Fund will be administered by VisitScotland, with eligible organisations first asked to complete an Expression of Interest form to demonstrate they meet the eligibility criteria. This form will go live at 12pm on Wednesday 16 December and will be open for one week until 5pm on Tuesday 22 December with full details of the process and requirements available at: https://www.visitscotland.org/events/funding/pivotal-event-businesses-fund

From the expressions of interest, approximately 50 – 100 organisations which meet or exceed the eligibility criteria, and which are assessed to represent a sectoral and geographical spread of the most significant event organisers, suppliers and venues operating in Scotland, will then be asked to submit a full application.