LaunchMe, a Big Lottery Fund initiative, aims to expand the social investment market in Scotland.
Seven Scottish social enterprises, ranging from a community shop in the Western Isles to soccer training and health education for children, went through a rigorous selection process to join the unique £825,000 business accelerator programme delivered by social enterprise development agency Firstport.
These people-powered social enterprises help to drive real change within their communities. Firstport works with these inspiring enterprises over a long time frame to help them find and secure the right investor to rapidly scale up their social and economic impact.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “Social enterprises do tremendous work to help boost skills, confidence and innovation amongst our entrepreneurial businesses.
“The Scottish Government recognises the critical role the third sector plays in addressing issues of inequality and the needs of disadvantaged communities, and the contribution that the sector makes to Scotland’s economy. We also firmly believe in a values-based approach to business where diverse business models, including co-operatives and social enterprise, contribute to increased productivity and wellbeing.
“Since 2014 we have seen LaunchMe encourage and support ambitious early stage social enterprises to attract new investors who will help them rapidly scale and grow their social and economic input.”
The 2015 LaunchMe businesses received a total of £130,000 in funding, as follows: Sylvia Douglas, MsMissMrs, Glasgow (£20,000); Josee Scott, Freedom Unlimited, Edinburgh (£20,000); Josh Littlejohn, Social Bite, Edinburgh/Glasgow (£20,000); Rachel DuBois, Hostel Hub, Alyth, Perthshire (£18,000); Dominic McNally, Future Soccer Stars, Stirling (£17,500); Reuben Chesters, Locavore, Glasgow (£17,500); Sarah MacLean, Buth Bharraigh, Barra (£17,000). And for many, this is only the beginning.
Firstport’s expertise in social enterprise development, as well as the exposure opportunities from LaunchMe pave the way for further investment.
Social enterprises based in remote locations, such as the Isle of Barra, often find it difficult to gain access to support, training and funding.
Sarah MacLean, director of Buth Bharraigh, said: “Getting onto LaunchMe will help us achieve our ambition by giving us access to excellent business and peer support”
“This opportunity will give us the support and confidence to move forward with our expansion plans. We want to provide our island with opportunities: a local produce hub that will inspire and have a positive effect on island sustainability.”
LaunchMe is now open for new applications and the deadline to apply is November the 28th. If you are an ambitious, early-stage social enterprise and you want to achieve scale and increase your impact, why not take a chance and apply?
It is the only programme of its kind in Scotland and has already helped dozens of social enterprises drive change in their communities. The programme’s wealth of expertise and access to funding can be the bridge between a great idea and a real success.
Find out more about LaunchMe and the application process: