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Matched funded business partnership scheme reaps over £1m for Scottish culture

Matched funded business partnership scheme reaps over £1m for Scottish culture

More than £1.1 million has now been invested in 68 individual business and cultural partnerships across through a programme that match funds business sponsorship of cultural projects.

Managed by independent charity Arts & Business Scotland, the Culture & Business Fund Scotland (CBFS) launched two years ago in April 2017.

Funded by the Scottish Government via Creative Scotland, total investment from the fund since launch has been almost £500,000 with every £1 invested generating £1.31 in business sponsorship, creating a total investment of £1,124,675.

Grants provided by the CBFS range from £1,000 to £40,000 in value. To encourage longer-term collaboration between business and the arts and heritage sectors, the CBFS programme also provides ongoing support to partnerships in their second and third years.

The programme supports a broad mix of different art forms and heritage types and has attracted support from a wide variety of businesses, spanning everything from manufacturing, property and construction to creative industries and from business services to retail, travel and leisure. 

More than nine in ten businesses participating in the programme said they were motivated to get involved by the opportunities it offered them to raise awareness of their business brand. Other common reasons for businesses to take part included the associated opportunities to generate positive PR, to market their business and to demonstrate their corporate social responsibility credentials.

As one example, the 2018 SEALL Festival of Small Halls was sponsored by central Skye’s Sligachan Hotel. Match-funded by the CBFS programme, the Sligachan Hotel not only sponsored the Festival but was also able to host participating musicians and journalists, as well as providing a venue for some of the Festival performances. 

Deirdre Curley, Director of the Sligachan Hotel commented:

“The Sligachan Hotel is really proud to have been able to support the SEALL Festival of Small Halls (pictured). It’s been a great opportunity to get involved in a high-quality local community project that has benefited Skye and Lochalsh as a whole. Our sponsorship of the festival has given the business really great exposure through the local, national and international media as well as giving our staff the unique opportunity to meet world-class musicians at their place of work. We were absolutely delighted to have been able to play our part in helping to make the 2018 Small Halls.”

Commenting on the performance of the CBFS programme over its first two years, Arts & Business Scotland Chief Executive David Watt said:

“Since launching in April 2017, it’s genuinely inspiring to see the huge variety of cultural projects throughout the length and breadth of Scotland that have been made possible through the generous support of business, matched by investment from the Culture & Business Fund Scotland. Over the first two years, the CBFS programme has now generated more than £1.1 million of investment in 68 creative partnerships between business and the arts and heritage sectors.

“I look forward to seeing many more successful collaborations in the years ahead. I would actively encourage any cultural organisation looking for new ways to bring their projects to life to consider potential opportunities for partnering with the business community – and potentially accessing match from the CBFS programme into the bargain.”

Information on how to apply to the fund is available on the dedicated site.

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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