First Employee Grant Scheme

Funded by UK Government logoA fund is available to provide grants of £1,000 to help support onboarding a member of staff.

Please note only one grant per business/person is allowed.

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This project is funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

View the UK Shared Prosperity Fund beneficiaries privacy notice (PDF 300KB).


To be eligible businesses must:

  • Be a sole trader, partnership or Limited Company
  • Be based within the Aberdeenshire Council area
  • Be engaged with the Business Gateway service and have a named advisor; if you don't have a Business Gateway Advisor, please contact us on or 01467 535353
  • Commence trading as a micro, small or medium enterprise
  • Not be trading, registered or have sold goods prior to 1st April 2021
  • Be a new employer registered with HMRC after 1st April 2024, contact us at at the point of registration with HMRC
  • Demonstrate a viable and thought through business idea
  • Hire an employee who must:
    • be the first hire within the business
    • have a permanent contract and over 30 hours a week
    • be receiving the national minimum wage

Applications for this grant scheme where you are taking on an employee must be a new claim and not applied for retrospective as these applications will not be accepted for existing staff members.

If you are taking on premises these must be registered with Aberdeenshire Council Business Rates Team. If you are a home-based business, then you must live within Aberdeenshire and be registered with the Aberdeenshire Council Tax Team. UK residents and those ‘granted leave to remain’ in the UK are eligible to apply for support. Passport or a letter from the Home Office would be required.

Businesses that aren’t eligible

Businesses part of a group or franchise are unable to apply unless they will have an autonomous cost and profit centre and reasonability in their own day to day management and accounts.

We are unable to award any grant payment to any organisation where the business owner or director within the business:

  • Has been disqualified as a director or business owner
  • Has been on the AIB Register of Insolvencies

No application will be approved if it is out of the council boundary.

How to apply

Closing date for applications is 28th February 2025, or when funds are exhausted.

To apply please email to get an application form. Please make sure you include all supporting documents when you submit your application.

When filling out your application form please note: the business bank account must link to the name in your application and documentation. This must be a business bank account. Personal bank statements may only be accepted in exceptional circumstances for sole-traders only

Supporting documents

Along with a completed application form, businesses need to provide:

  • Evidence of registration:
    • For limited companies - companies house number completed on the application form (not before 1st April 2021
    • For sole traders - a copy of HMRC UTR letter (not registered before 1st April 2021, new registrations only)
  • Evidence of HMRC PAYE Reference Number - copy of HMRC letter
  • Proof of identity, photographic driving licence or passport
  • Proof of applicant address (recent Council Tax bill or utility bill dated within last 3 months)
  • Pay slip record
  • Bank statement showing payment to staff member for claim
  • All other supporting evidence requested or any additional files the applicant wishes to upload to support their application

What happens after application

All applications will be assessed and verified against the grant criteria by Aberdeenshire Council, Business Gateway Aberdeen City and Shire.

If your application is successful, you will be informed by a letter of offer.

Conditions of getting the grant

The following outputs and outcomes will be monitored, you will be required to report back on your progress as requested. The applicant will be contacted to gather this information some point after the award within 12 months of the award date:

  • Numbers of full-time jobs created (equivalent to 37 hours per week)
  • Numbers of new products and/or services created
  • Business earnings
  • Number of business premises
  • Trade abroad (exporting)

Details of payments made will be recorded and shared with relevant departments throughout Aberdeenshire Council on a regular basis.

The grant payment is 100% and no part funding is required. The grant must be used for intended outlined business purposes otherwise the council has the right to reclaim the grant.


You can appeal an unsuccessful application up to 4 weeks after the rejection notification by submitting a written request to appeal to

The application will then be reviewed by a second member of the council.

State aid

Any grants awarded through the First Employee Grant Scheme will be awarded as Minimal Financial Assistance under Article 36 of the Subsidy Control Act 2022. There is a ceiling of £315,000 for subsidies provided to any one enterprise under this article over a 3-year period. Any Article 36 subsidies (or similar aid, including “de minimis” aid granted prior to 31st December 2020 under Commission Regulation (EU) No 1407/2013) awarded to the Grantee will be relevant if the grantee wishes to apply, or has applied, for any Article 36 subsidies. Prior to any award being made, a Minimal Financial Assistance notification will be issued and you will need to provide us with written confirmation that the MFA threshold specified in section 36(1) of the Subsidy Control Act will not be exceeded by you receiving the proposed assistance.

View further guidance about State Aid.


Please email for more information.