New businesses in Aberdeenshire are being urged to apply for a recently launched grant to help them expand.
The local authority is offering enterprises taking on their first member of staff £1,000 to help them along the way.
Those who quality for the First Employee Grant Scheme will receive £500 when the person starts the job and the same amount if they are still in post six months on.
The job can either be a full-time one of at least 30 hours a week or one shared by two part-time workers.
One person to benefit from the scheme was Jacob Whitaker – a 19-year-old who started an apprenticeship with Greenman Woodworking in October last year.
Richard Kent, who runs the Torphins-based business, explained how the grant had helped them.
He said: “The grant has made a big difference in enabling the apprenticeship, and was a massive incentive in helping with initial set-up costs.
“Due to the time spent teaching and training, productivity has naturally slowed in this early phase, and there was also an initial investment for safety equipment and PPE.
“Applying for the grant was a fairly straightforward process, with a few forms to fill in and copies of supporting documentation to be submitted.
“The Aberdeenshire Council staff I’ve dealt with have been helpful and I appreciate the support available to small businesses in Scotland and Aberdeenshire.”