Scottish social entrepreneurs share over £60,000 in funding to tackle social issues

May 31, 2017

Fifteen social entrepreneurs from across Scotland have been awarded a total of £62,289 from the Social Entrepreneurs Fund in the first quarter of 2017. The awards were delivered by Firstport, Scotland’s start up social enterprise development agency, to help the awardees pilot their business ideas.

The budding social entrepreneurs are addressing important social issues in Scotland, with health and wellbeing a key focus for a number of the awardees.

The government recognises mental illness as one of the major public health challenges in Scotland. Eve Hepburn and Gary Young are hoping to make a difference to the mental well-being of Scots. Eve, who received £4,500, concentrates on empowering young women experiencing stress and other mental health disorders through her online magazine Fearless Femme. Gary will use his £2,000 grant to strengthen the minds of young people and adults by delivering mindfulness and meditation training to the education, corporate and sports sectors with profits recycled to deliver free training to individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. His social enterprise is called The Mindful Enterprise.

Eve Hepburn, founder of Fearless Femme, said: “The Start It award has been crucial in enabling me to realize my objectives in getting Fearless Femme off the ground. Firstport has given me the boost in confidence - which is so critical in the early stages of setting up a social enterprise - in recognising the potential of Fearless Femme to help young women develop their mental resilience. As well as that, the funding has also allowed me to start putting my plans into action by building the online magazine.”

Statistics show that around two thirds of adults in Scotland are overweight or obese. Fran Loots has set up Aye Can Change to tackle the challenge and promote long term, sustainable weight management and well-being. Based in Comrie, Fran received £4,500 to support her idea.

Karen McGregor, Chief Executive of Firstport said: “I am very pleased that Firstport is supporting people at the start of their entrepreneurial journey, enabling them to test their ideas. The variety of ideas shows that social enterprise can be applied to any sector and tackle a range of issues in innovative ways. We believe that they will take their ideas forward and turn them into sustainable businesses, adding to the pool of successful social enterprises in Scotland.”

The awards are part of Firstport’s “Start It” awards programme, where entrepreneurs can apply for up to £5,000 to pilot their business idea. The awards are funded by the Scottish Government’s Social Entrepreneurs Fund. 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.


For further information contact:
Jess Gray, Communications Officer
0131 558 2724

Notes to editors

The full list of 2017 “Start It” award winners can be found below:

  • Samuel Abrahams from Edinburgh was awarded £3,466 to pilot Remote Firstaid, a provider of specialist expedition leadership training courses, with a focus on wilderness first aid, and working with disenfranchised young Scots.
  • Martin Evans from Peterhead received £3,108 to support a pilot of his social enterprise, Digital Maker (Awesome Tech). He provides workshops and training in digital making and associated technology, aimed at tackling the skills gap and extending opportunities for young people.
  • Adesanmi Fasoro from Falkirk received £5,000 to pilot his enterprise, HomePointr, which helps access supported housing. It combines a professional network of supported housing providers and referral agencies with an online platform to improve access for users.
  • Elif Hector was awarded £4,965 to pilot her social enterprise in Aberdeen and the surrounding area. Care Reach is a platform allowing service users to manage their care directly with qualified and vetted care workers and manage their own needs.
  • Eve Hepburn from Edinburgh was awarded £4,500 for her social enterprise, Fearless Femme, a membership based online magazine that seeks to support and empower young women aged 18-24 experiencing stress and other mental health disorders.
  • Robert Jeffery was awarded £3,300 to pilot a community transport enterprise servicing the residents of Bo'ness and surrounding areas.
  • Jason Lang was awarded £5,000 to pilot his social enterprise, Hunter Community Enterprises, in East Kilbride. The enterprise is a horticultural business providing training, employment and personal development for long-term unemployed.
  • Fran Loots from Comrie received £4,500 to support her idea, Aye Can Change, promoting long term, sustainable weight management and well-being, with a 12 step non-diet programme.
  • Jacqueline Lowe from Glenrothes was awarded £4,900 to support her social care enterprise. Trusted Breaks provides respite and day care and employs individuals with experience of caring for members of their own family.
  • Lynn Mann received £4,500 to establish social enterprise Food for Good, an organisation in Midlothian harnessing Scottish food industry CSR resources to deliver projects tackling food inequality and homelessness.
  • Angela McNay from Ayr was awarded £4,000 to pilot Unity Grill, a quality restaurant and community space open to the general public, but where individuals can pay by volunteering time, reducing the stigma of food poverty.
  • Christopher Stack from Kirkton received £4499.50 for his social enterprise, Action on Mould, an innovative new method of removing harmful mould from homes and public buildings, focussing on benefiting individuals on low incomes.
  • Ifelewa Thomas from Glasgow was awarded £5,000 to support Lewalicious Cakes, a community bakery in the east end of Glasgow which offers training, volunteering and employment support to unemployed 16 to 25 year olds.
  • Karen Todd received £3,550 to pilot WalkIN’Cafe. Based in the rural village of Spittalfield, the cafe seeks to be the main hub of activity, build community spirit, reduce social isolation particularly amongst its older population and promote healthy physical activity (walking groups).
  • Gary Young from Edinburgh received £2,000 to pilot The Mindful Enterprise, a programme delivering mindfulness and meditation training to education and corporate sectors.


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.