The Scottish Government has today (Tuesday) announced new funding of £13m to provide further support for the events sector, which has been decimated by COVID-19.

A new fund, the Pivotal Event Businesses Fund (PEBF), has been formed and will see £6m committed to support those event businesses which are critical to Scotland’s events sector.

The PEBF will provide grants from £25,000 up to a maximum of £150,000 to support approximately 50 to 100 event businesses, such as organisers, suppliers, contractors and venues.

Organisations applying to the fund must meet the eligibility criteria including having annual turnover in excess of £500,000 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as be directly involved in the delivery and organisation of at least five major events, festivals or conferences each year. The applicants must also employ a minimum number of staff, and events must be the primary source of the organisation’s income.

The fund is intended to support those pivotal businesses that operate at a size and scale in the sector and/or location where the loss or insolvency of that business would have a significant and detrimental impact on Scotland’s ability to continue to host and stage major events. Additionally, the fund will be targeted to support businesses which are experiencing critical financial problems that threaten insolvency or significant job losses due to the impact of COVID-19.

The remaining funding will be used to set up a separate fund to provide broader support to businesses across the full range of the events sector, including the supply chain, and will be announced early in 2021.

The latest funding follows the £10m announced by the Culture Secretary in July for the events industry, of which £6m was allocated to the now closed Event Industry Support Fund while £2m was allocated to Scotland’s Events Recovery Fund, currently being run by EventScotland.

Fiona Hyslop, Scotland’s Culture Secretary, said: “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.

“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.

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

The Pivotal Event Businesses Fund will be administered by VisitScotland, and organisations who have been in receipt of other COVID-19 funding are not excluded from submitting an Expression of Interest as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.

Paul Bush, VisitScotland’s director of events, added: “Scotland’s events industry continues to be severely impacted by the ongoing effects of COVID-19. The £6 million Pivotal Event Businesses Fund will provide vital funding to businesses critical to our industry’s survival, and without whom our capacity to deliver major events would be significantly reduced.

“Events play a key role in our communities by sustaining livelihoods and bringing social, cultural and economic change so ensuring the industry’s survival is key to Scotland’s recovery from this pandemic.”