Seven ambitious social enterprises gear up to scale as they secure a place in Scotland’s social enterprise accelerator
Seven social enterprises from across the country have been announced as the latest participants in LaunchMe, Scotland’s social enterprise accelerator.
From a creative hub in Shetland to a community transport enterprise in Bo’ness, the seven social enterprises were selected based on their potential to scale, secure investment and generate social impact in their communities.
LaunchMe, which is delivered by social enterprise start-up agency Firstport, supports ambitious social enterprises to achieve scale by getting them investment ready and directly connecting them with investors looking for social as well as financial returns. In addition to initial seed funding, selected participants have the opportunity to apply for grant funding as co-investment to match any private and institutional investment they secure during the programme.
The programme is supported by the Scottish Government, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, and Barclays bank. Previous participants include well-known social enterprises including letting agency Homes for Good; art retailer the Scottish Design Exchange; tour company Invisible Cities and hair salon chain Brave, Strong, Beautiful.
Trudi Donahue, one of the selected participants and Director of Glasgow-based Wild & Kind CIC, said: “We are so excited to be a part of LaunchMe. Firstport have been there for us right from the start, and the support they’ve given us over the years is the reason why we are where we are now. We’ve been growing steadily over the last 12 months, but it hasn’t been without its challenges. I’m hoping that LaunchMe will help me build the skills needed to manage the finance and development side of the company so that we can scale up to be a relatively large organisation, providing jobs and deliver even more social impact over the coming months.”
Josiah Lockhart, Chief Executive of Firstport, said: “The ambition and drive of social enterprises continue to impress us. Despite facing incredible challenges over the last year, the seven successful participants have demonstrated that they have robust and resilient business models with the potential to scale and achieve greater social impact. As Scotland emerges from a second lockdown and we look forward to a still uncertain future, social enterprises have an important role to play in helping communities recover from the health and economic crisis brought about by Covid. We can’t wait to see what these seven enterprises go on to achieve.”
Margaret McSporran, Head of Social Enterprise Development at HIE, said: “The Highlands and Islands, with around 10% of the population, is home to more than a fifth of Scotland’s social enterprises. This underlines their importance to the region’s economy and communities. Over the past year we have seen significant added value of social enterprise, supporting many rural communities through the pandemic. It’s great to see many of them taking part in LaunchMe. We look forward to seeing how this helps our social enterprises strengthen their role in our region’s recovery and brings benefits to rural communities, particularly those with population challenges, as we transition to a net zero region.”
More information about the participants and the programme are available on the Firstport website – https://www.firstport.org.uk/business-support/launchme/
In addition, a case study about Wild & Kind (A Glasgow-based social enterprise founded by social entrepreneur Trudi Donahue) can be found here > Wild and Kind case study