Scotland’s small businesses to capitalise on energy efficiency with launch of new ‘cashback’ scheme | Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
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Scotland’s small businesses to capitalise on energy efficiency with launch of new ‘cashback’ scheme

Small businesses in Scotland could save up to £8,000 on average each year simply by making energy efficiency improvements – and cut their annual energy consumption by a quarter.

That’s the message from Zero Waste Scotland and the Scottish Government, who today (Thursday 1 February, 2018) announced a new ‘cashback’ scheme to help businesses in Scotland tackle rising energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint.

For a limited time only, eligible small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) applying for an interest-free, unsecured Scottish Government loan can receive 30% cashback on the value. That’s up to £10,000 in cashback on completion of their energy efficiency improvements. 

Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, announced the cashback incentive today during a visit to Goldenacre Mini Market in Edinburgh. The convenience store is among more than 300 businesses in Scotland to have benefitted from an SME Loan in the past five years.

The SME Loan scheme has seen nearly £10million invested in the Scottish small business community since 2013. 

Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, said: “Improving energy efficiency is one of the smartest ways that businesses in Scotland can hold onto their hard-earned profits and make a real difference to the bottom line.

“In addition to benefits for individual businesses, reducing the environmental impact of Scotland’s energy needs will bring us closer to the low carbon energy future set out in Scotland’s Energy Strategy – generating benefits for Scotland’s economy as well as the environment. 

“This fund is part of Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP), which will support buildings across Scotland – both domestic and non-domestic – to improve their energy efficiency rating over a 15-20 year period. 

“We will be publishing a SEEP Routemap, later in 2018, to set out our long-term ambition for the Programme and make our commitment to this agenda clear, given the more than £500 million we have which earmarked to the programme over this term of Parliament.” 

The SME Loan 30% Cashback incentive is open to applications from SMEs with energy efficiency projects that demonstrate cost and carbon savings. These include, but are not limited to: 

  • investing in LED lighting,
  • installing more efficient heating systems,
  • improving the insulation of a building or investing in more energy efficient equipment, such as a state of the art oven or a more efficient refrigeration unit.

Eligible applicants will receive a dedicated expert advisor from Zero Waste Scotland’s Resource Efficient Scotland service, which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), to guide them through the process at no cost, helping them identify efficiency improvements with the greatest benefit to the bottom line.

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said: “Our work with small businesses in Scotland tells us that companies want to do their bit for the environment – indeed, our advisors have already supported organisations in Scotland to identify over £42million worth of savings. 

“We understand that with small businesses, the need to see fast return on investment and the time needed to complete lengthy application processes can preclude positive action. That’s why the SME Loan and associated support is designed with busy Scottish SMEs in mind – and with up to £10,000 cashback now available there’s even more reason to act and secure a more sustainable, cost-effective future for your business.” 

Small business owner Aleem Farooqi runs the Goldenacre Mini Market on Edinburgh’s Inverleith Row. His successful application for the SME Loan in 2016, to upgrade the store’s lighting and refrigeration, has generated annual electricity savings worth almost £1,800. 

Mr Farooqi said: “As a small business, keeping my energy bills to a minimum while also ensuring an excellent customer experience is paramount. Having operated Goldenacre Mini Market in Edinburgh for 15 years, I was delighted to have the chance to upgrade some of my older lighting and refrigeration equipment to more energy efficient models that are now saving me about 30% on my electricity bills. That’s money that I can put back into my business and continue to serve the community. 

“I would recommend the SME Loan to any small business owner – and with an additional cashback element now available it’s a great opportunity for retailers to invest in the future of their business.” 

To find out more about the SME Loan 30% Cashback incentive, and to apply, call Zero Waste Scotland’s Resource Efficient Scotland service on 0808 808 2268, or visit

Zero Waste Scotland leads on delivery of the £73million Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme, which aims to improve the economic performance of SMEs while at the same time reducing the impact of economic activity on the natural environment, supporting Scottish Government and EU policies.

Pictured: Adrian Roper, National Federation of Retail Newsagents; Aleem Farooqi, proprietor, Goldenacre Mini Market; Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy; Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland; and Shahzad Khaliq, of Goldenacre Mini Market.

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