Whether you’re thinking about applying for a Digital Development Loan or are 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.

No, you do however need to provide

  • A One Page Summary of Company History and Business Activities
  • A One Page Summary of The Digital Project
  • 12 Months Cash Flow Projections
  • 12 Months Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet Projections

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 (does not have to be recognised qualification)
  • Costs of using a specialist/consultant to implement the system, train staff, etc

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 and software upgrade
  • 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.

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. There is a two-stage assessment process – Stage 1 is the Business Appraisal (carried out on the basis of your application form and Business Plan), if you satisfy the requirements then the application is passed on to Stage 2 – the Financial Appraisal which requires more documentation and discussion with the loan providers, DSL Business Finance.

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

No. The loan is made to enable you to start a project, it cannot be used retrospectively for costs already incurred, nor can it be used as additional finance for a project that is already underway. No expenditure on or commitments to the project should be made before loan approval is confirmed.

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.

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. We also need you to identify in the Application specific milestones with dates by which you expect to achieve these so that the progress of your project can be tracked.

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

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.

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. To meet the eligibility criteria it is likely that the charity’s trading arm would be the applicant, rather than the charity.

No, it is not necessary to provide three quotes. However, we do require a quote(s) for the full loan amount applied for. It is for the individual business to satisfy themselves that their chosen contractor is providing a fair price and the required competence.