£90,000 awarded to four female social entrepreneurs to boost businesses in Scotland

May 17, 2017

Four female entrepreneurs have been awarded a total of £90,000 in the latest round of funding from the Social Entrepreneurs Fund. The awards were delivered by Firstport, Scotland’s start up social enterprise development agency, to help the awardees take their businesses to the next level. 

As social enterprises, all of these businesses have social or environmental goals. They aim to become financially sustainable and generate profits to re-invest in the cause they support. 

The ambitious entrepreneurs’ ventures include: a community cafe, providing employability and training opportunities for women refugees; an enterprise supporting victims of trauma; a natural cosmetics business offering empowerment workshops for black and ethnic minority women; and a textile business supporting community regeneration in the Outer Hebrides.

The grants were awarded as part of Firstport’s Build It programme, which distributes money from the Scottish Government’s Social Entrepreneurs Fund. The awards support entrepreneurs who are looking to develop social enterprises with a proven record of making social impact while maintaining financial stability. Funding of up to £20,000 is available to cover an individual’s salary or living costs for one year, so that they can start running the business full time. A further £5,000 discretionary funding is available on top of this for other costs, such as additional staff.

Karen McGregor, Chief Executive of Firstport said: “57% of the social entrepreneurs that we support at Firstport are women. The social enterprise sector has a fantastic record in terms of women in leadership roles, as demonstrated by this latest round. We’re delighted to help these talented individuals further develop their successful businesses.

“The Build It programme provides a vital step for ambitious social entrepreneurs, allowing them to take the leap and commit to their business full time. The recent commitment from the Scottish Government to double its investment in the Social Entrepreneurs Fund, combined with Firstport’s free business advice and resources, will enable us to support more of these talented entrepreneurs throughout Scotland.”

The next deadline for applications to the Build It programme is 10 July 2017. Further information is available here: http://www.firstport.org.uk/funding/item/287-build-it


For further information contact
Jess Gray, Communications Officer
0131 558 2724 / jess@firstport.org.uk

Notes to editors

The successful social entrepreneurs are:

• Angela Ireland, MILK cafe, Glasgow, £25,000

MILK cafe provides a safe, supportive environment where female migrant, refugee and asylum seekers can receive employability support. It offers individuals valuable opportunities to gain appropriate skills, experience and confidence as part of their progression to paid employment.

The funding will allow the social enterprise to employ more staff. This will ease current pressures on the team, increasing productivity and allowing time to focus on the future development of the business.

• Ashley Scotland, Thriving Survivors, Glasgow, £20,000

Thriving Survivors, set up by Ashley Scotland, supports survivors of trauma. It aims to re-empower, re-integrate and help to re-employ people who face barriers and social exclusion as a result of a traumatic event. As an organisation, they believe that delivering training sessions as well as helping people to find, stay and progress in work, they can help them to reach their full potential.

The funding will enable Ashley to dedicate the time and energy needed to grow and scale the organisation in 2017 by providing a full time salary. This will assist the organisation in delivering the programmes as well as making vital partnerships that will enhance the organisation’s standing within the social enterprise sector.

• Hermine Makangu, Mbikudi Naturally Powerful, Glasgow, £20,000

Mbikudi supports children from low income backgrounds and ethnic minority women battling isolation, low self-esteem and depression through the sale of their natural organic range of hair and skin care products. They use hands-on group bonding activities bringing women together to produce natural organic body care products, recycled jewellery and also for social activities.

The funding will allow Hermine to focus fully on the development of the enterprise by providing her salary. It will also mean that any income from selling her products can be used to boost the growth of her social enterprise.

• Dana MacPhee, Uist Wool, Uist, £25,000

The Uist Wool Mill spins local and other fleece into desirable, unusual yarns to supply weavers, craftspeople, and visitors alike. Their aim is to revitalise this traditional island industry through creating employment, training and workspace using a local asset - wool. Uist Wool has recently constructed the Wool Centre where skills, ideas, design and inspiration are shared by young and old, novices and experts, islanders and visitors alike, through training programmes, workshops and education.

The Build It funding will provide Dana with a year’s salary as she focuses on making Uist Wool a sustainable trading enterprise. Over the next 12 months she hopes to move the company into a successful trading position through active marketing and retail positioning in the UK and overseas.

Established in 2007, Firstport is Scotland’s development agency for start-up social enterprise. We offer a full package of free business support and resources that includes start-up funds, business advice, practical tools and connections. Firstport delivers an awards programme, which distributes money from the Scottish Government’s Social Entrepreneurs Fund. Firstport is also part of the Just Enterprise consortium, with responsibility for providing business support to start-up social enterprises across Scotland. This includes one-to-one consultations and a range of workshops and training events.

Social Entrepreneurs Fund
Since 2009, the Social Entrepreneurs Fund has made 482 awards and distributed £3.4 million across Scotland. In April 2017, the Scottish Government announced that funding for the Social Entrepreneurs Fund will double to £1 million for each of the next three years.