£5000 seed funding for Girvan business with social impact

Girvan resident, Andrew Sinclair, has been awarded a £5000 Start It award from the Social Entrepreneurs Fund to pilot his social enterprise, Wecafé. The award was delivered by Firstport, Scotland’s start up social enterprise development agency.

After spotting a gap in the market for good quality coffee in the area, Andrew’s idea is to import coffee from Uganda and make it available for sale in Girvan and the surrounding area.

The enterprise will provide training and employment opportunities in Girvan and elsewhere in Ayrshire, which are currently limited. His long term ambition is to employ local people in a roasting facility and coffee shop. Producers in Uganda benefit too, as the enterprise will provide employment in the growing, packaging and export process.

Andrew began developing his idea as part of the What if...Girvan programme, delivered by Firstport. Through the programme, Andrew has had access to one to one business training, mentoring and peer support. He was also awarded £3000 seed funding to test his idea, provided by the William Grant Foundation.

Andrew Sinclair, founder of Wecafé, said: "The support I’ve had from What If...Girvan has been invaluable to getting Wecafé off the ground. The additional £5000 Start It grant will allow me to set up my legal structure and to buy the equipment and training needed to get going. I am looking forward to seeing it make a difference for people in Girvan.”

Josiah Lockhart, Chief Executive of Firstport, said: “Social enterprise is about running a business, making a profit, and using that money to create a positive social impact. It’s fantastic to see Andrew’s hard work coming to fruition, as Wecafé begins to takes shape. After developing his idea through Firstport’s What if... Girvan programme, Andrew has now successfully applied for further funding to get his business off the ground. He is a great example of how local people, with the right support in place, can turn their ideas into reality and have a direct impact in their community.

“Social enterprises play an important role in sustaining and stimulating our rural communities. They can make the most of the good things in communities – trading local crafts, produce and skills. But they can also be uniquely placed to meet local needs – using empty shops, employing local people and delivering services people want. There are several successful social enterprises already trading in the Girvan area such as the Quay Zone and the Adventure Centre for Education (ACE).”

Do you have a business idea that could make a positive difference in Girvan and the South Carrick villages? You don’t need a business background to run a social enterprise. Firstport has the tools, skills and resources to help you. Including one to one business support to develop your idea, up to £3000 in funding to test it, along with training, leadership development, mentoring and peer support.

Contact Sally Johnston (sally@firstport.org.uk 07501 950 413) to find out how What if...Girvan can help turn your idea into reality.

Find out more about Andrew’s social enterprise journey by reading his case study