Growing your business

By Design

By Design grant

What is By Design?

The By Design grant can provide the funding you need to design and develop new products and services. By using design effectively, businesses can develop products that truly meet the needs of their customers.


Research market opportunities, carry out customer research and create design briefs.


Undertake design work to scope out products or services suited to the needs of the customer. Define and design the brand for the new product or service.


Create prototypes or minimum viable products to be tested with customers and focus groups.


Preparation for market launch, final testing and refinements to products based on feedback.


Acme Ltd. wish to develop a prototype for a new product. Acme Ltd. obtain a quote from a design agency for £6000 and are then successful in applying to By Design. Acme Ltd. pay their design agency the £6000 and then claim back 70% of the total project cost (£4200) from Scottish Enterprise by providing evidence that the cost has been incurred and the prototype work has been completed.


Preparing to Apply

How much support can I get?

If successful, you will be awarded a grant for 70% of the total project costs, up to a maximum grant of £5000.

What activities can I do?

Any design work related to developing new products or services, such as research, scoping, brand and packaging design work, prototyping, planning and work related to launching something new into the market. With digital services and products, we can help with wireframing, minimum viable product/service creation, user experience and customer journey planning.

What activities can’t I do?

General business activities won’t be supported. We need to see evidence that you’re developing a new product or service. We can’t cover the cost of building a website for you to sell products. Other ineligible activities could include printing of marketing materials, capital expenditure (such as buying machinery) and the costs of manufacturing or purchasing stock. We also can’t cover any salary costs or internal costs.

Are VAT costs covered?

The grant will only cover non-VAT costs. When completing the application form, please exclude VAT from any costs.

My company is not VAT registered. Can I still apply?

Non-VAT registered businesses can only apply by exception if approval is provided by an Innovation Specialist or Business Gateway Growth Adviser. Please note, that whilst you can be approved to apply for the grant, any VAT costs need to be covered by the company and cannot be included in your grant application.

Can I apply for funding for work that has started?

The grant can only be used to cover activities which are yet to begin. Therefore, it is not possible to include activities in the application form that have already started.

What information do I need from my suppliers to submit with my application?

We will review your application form alongside quotations or a development proposal from the supplier(s). If the appraisers need any further information, they will contact you. Please make sure you include a detailed quote or proposal from the suppliers you plan to work with. We can’t progress without this. Please make sure your suppliers provide you with a quotation and not an invoice.

Can suppliers be sole traders?

Yes, this is possible if they are registered sole traders.

Can my suppliers be overseas?

Yes, this isn’t a problem. We encourage applicants to source their suppliers from within the EU. However, if there are no available suppliers within the EU, you may look further afield for specialist skills and expertise.


Am I eligible?

To be eligible your company:
  • Must have a base in Scottish Enterprise supported regions and be registered for VAT
  • Must not have commissioned any work or spent any money on the project activities that the grant would fund
  • Must have a business bank account which will be used for expenditure relating to the grant
Other criteria
  • You can incur 100% of the project costs up front and then await payment of a claim for 70% of eligible expenditure
  • You can demonstrate the benefits of the project
  • Your company doesn't have a Scottish Enterprise account manager or Business Gateway growth pipeline adviser
  • Funding won't be used for travel costs
  • Funding won't be used for capital expenditure, such as IT equipment
  • Funding won't be used for software licences
  • Funding won't be used for internal payment or temporary salaries
  • No more than 10% of the overall project cost will be focused on website design
  • You haven't received By Design or Make it to Market grant funding in the past
  • Your company is an SME (an SME has fewer than 250 employees and a turnover of less than €50m or a balance sheet of less than €43m) - EU Commission's definition of an SME (link opens in a new window)

How to Apply

1. Complete the application

Download the application form and complete it. When you’re finished, you’ll need to print it, sign it and scan it back as a PDF.

2. Submit the application

Submit the application form by emailing it to Don't worry, this email address is also on the application form. We may need to contact you for further details in some cases. This all helps towards the review process.

How to apply

Download our application form and send the completed version to

Application review process


Submit application and project quotations to


Application reviewed within 3 weeks, you will receive and email to let you know if it has been approved


You will receive a contract by email. Once it is signed and returned you can commit spend on the project


You claim your grant contribution upon project completion

Claims process


You will receive a combined contract and claims form by email


Upon completion of the project, fill in the claim documents and obtain necessary proof of claim, e.g. statements, invoice etc.


Send all claim paperwork to the contact whose details are included in your contract


Funding will be released within 30 days of claim documents approval

How to apply

Download our application form and send the completed version to