Whether you’re thinking about applying for a Digital Development Loan or have already in the middle of applying you may have questions about the process. Check out our FAQs below and if you are still unsure please get in contact and we will be happy to help.

Do I need to supply a Business Plan?

Yes, a detailed Business Plan, including 12 months financial projections for the first year of the project (Cash Flow, Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet) is required to explain how your application meets the assessment criteria. A Business Plan template is available on the website in case you don’t have your own.

What are the assessment criteria?

In addition to the eligibility criteria, applications will be assessed on whether, and by how much the project delivers:

  • Increased capacity – for example, able to take on new and additional work
  • Increased capability – for example, faster production speed, higher quality work, faster business processes
  • Increased digital skills within the workforce

Overall, the loan is aimed at helping Scottish SMEs to improve processes and productivity through digital application.

What type of expenditure is likely to be accepted?

Probably Yes:

  • Hardware and software that increases the digital capacity and capability of the company
  • Expenditure on new digital processes that speed up production or enable the company to access new markets
  • Expenditure on training (not necessarily qualifications)

Maybe – depending on the projected outcomes

  • Upgrades, provided the resulting business development can be evidenced
  • Employee costs where it can be demonstrated that this is essential for the delivery of the project and the achievement of the outcomes

Probably No:

  • Routine replacements or upgrades such as servers, software such as CAD systems
  • Digital equipment for new employees unless this was being used to access new digital processes
  • Hardware and software considered a normal or essential part of the business activities, such as EPOS systems, electronic booking systems, e-commerce platforms, website

What level of detail is required in the application?

The greater the level of detail the easier and quicker is the process of assessing the application and the greater likelihood of approval. We’re looking for detailed information on how the use of the fund will improve turnover; profit; digital processes; digital skills in the workforce; employee numbers; access to international markets etc.

How long does the application process take?

We hope to give you a decision within 6 weeks of receipt of your completed application. If we have to come back to you for more information that will increase that time frame.

I already have a DSL loan, am I eligible?

An existing loan is not an issue in itself, the application assessment will take account of all your existing commitments.

My company is long-established – is this fund only for Start-Ups?

As long as the business has been trading for over 6 months it meets this element of the eligibility criteria.

What kind of employee costs are eligible?

Employee costs, both existing and new, are not eligible unless these are essential to the successful implementation of the project. Where the project includes bringing in freelance contractors to deliver or implement the project, and/or to train staff, this is potentially eligible.

I manage a charity – is it eligible to apply?

Yes, charities, social enterprises, community interest companies and not-for-profits are eligible provided they meet the eligibility criteria – specifically for this sector – is it legally constituted as a company, and has it been trading (making sales, not just receiving grants) for at least 6 months.

I’ve already invested money in the development we are planning, can the loan repay this?

No. The loan is made to enable you to start a project, it cannot be used retrospectively for costs already incurred. No expenditure on or commitments to the project can be made before loan approval is confirmed.

I’m already engaged with Scottish Enterprise as a Growth Pipeline/High Growth/Account Managed company, am I eligible to apply?


I am receiving a grant towards the project, can I use a Digital Development Loan to complete the funding?