15 Young Social Entrepreneurs Receive £2014 Funding to regenerate Glasgow’s High Streets

Vibrant social enterprise project Beyond the Finish Line, developed and implemented by Firstport along with Icecream Architecture, successfully launched on February 21st at their headquarters in Glasgow’s emerging Trongate area. 

Young people between 16 and 30 gathered over a weekend to present their ideas for their own social enterprises and with the hope that their dreams would be realised. Both Firstport and Icecream Architecture knew they would have a tough job on their hands choosing 10 winners from more than 70 hopeful entrepreneurs that had applied.

The weekend was hosted at the excellently refurbished Beyond the Finish Line workspace and offered 10 hours mentorship and a tough selection process. Due to the talent on display and quality of ideas presented, Firsport decided to extend the award to 15 of the most inspiring applicants.

Financed by The Big Lottery Fund, each of the 15 selected challengers will be given funding of up to £2014, one to one business support, mentoring from an industry expert, free workspace within Glasgow City centre, and their own space to open for business during the Commonwealth Games.

The selected challengers provide a diverse, creative and fresh selection of ideas. From the established to the inspirational, Firstport will provide the challengers with the support they need to kick start their projects.

One example of the inspirational challengers chosen to bring their enterprise idea to life is Hungry Window, the brainchild of Rhory Gardiner, Charlie Adam and Chris Fowler. Their idea is to regenerate a disused High Street shop front in a way which will involve the local community, aiming to inspire them to be more creative in their daily lives. Eventually, their plan would be to have a high street shop front which will also act as a gallery space, and studio space.

Rhory Gardiner said; “We attended the launch weekend with a vague idea, but with a dream of starting up a business that would inspire members of the public to become more creative. Meeting other potential challengers and hearing from inspiring and knowledgeable speakers helped us realise the possibilities available to us and helped us develop and refine the idea for Hungry Window. We’re looking forward to launching in time for the Commonwealth Games this summer.”

Another example is The Dream Machine, a sensory immersion experience set up by Matt Lygate. The Dream Machine’s mission is to provide interactive arts experiences for those dispossessed in our communities and will bring down barriers caused by poverty, disability, geography or culture. As part of the challengers’ announcement, Matt ran a taster session at the Beyond the Finish Line space, using music and visuals to showcase the effects of sensory interactions amongst the general public.

Karen McGregor, Chief Executive, Firstport said; “The passion, determination and creativity that young people showed during the challenge weekend was inspiring and refreshing. We were very impressed with the quality of the ideas submitted and that is why we decided to select 15 challengers on to the programme. We will support them throughout the year to bring their ideas to life and make local areas and high streets in Glasgow more vibrant, inclusive and connected”.

The dynamic Beyond the Finish Line project, created by the partnership of Firstport and Ice Cream Architecture, aims to use the momentum of the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the imagination of the selected challengers, to regenerate local areas in the community contributing to the Games Legacy vision.

Beyond The Finish Line has also attained prestigious Legacy status, awarded to projects in 2014 that will work towards creating a more prosperous, inclusive and accessible Glasgow.

Beyond The Finish Line Weekend Challenge from 14c Film on Vimeo.

Listed below are all 15 of the selected challengers for the Beyond the Finish Line project.

Matt Lygate - The Dream Machine. We will provide multidisciplinary interactive art sessions in our sensory immersion rooms. Specific sessions designed for those usually without access to the arts due to poverty, disability, age or culture. The purpose being to provide society’s disengaged with an empowering creative outlet to manifest their own dreams.

Scott MacKenzie - Helpfilm. Helpfilm looks to bring the wonders of cinema along with talks from interesting people such as health promotion professionals and other skills workshops. We are looking to share our love of the big screen with the community but also bring new skills to people who find it difficult to access.

Carolyn Ferri - Amo Torta. Run’s a handmade gluten free cake business that would like to expand into an "allergy free" cake business. They will offer people- dairy free, gluten free, egg free and reduced sugar cakes without sacrificing on taste of quality.

Julia Martin - In Bloom. A quirky, creative magazine showing a snapshot of youth culture and bringing together social scenes and places in Glasgow in wonderful ways. Showcasing talent and creating an accessible platform, giving younger generations of all backgrounds equal opportunities & experience to break barriers - inspiring them to maximize their fullest potential.

Sophie Steele - Treemendus. Wish to open a shop/workspace selling their furniture and offering upcycling workshops. They will be a stockist of Annie Sloan chalk paint, have an online shop and courier furniture UK wide. They will train up volunteers teaching them furniture upcycling skills as well as shop skills.

Holly Baxter - Hardwear. Hardwear is an ethical clothing label with a goal of designing, printing and making all garments right here in Wild West Glasgow. They discovered a great deal of enthusiasm and therefore, propose a Maklab for fashion design.

Matt Fountain - Freedom Bakery - The Freedom Bakery is a social enterprise to give training and employment to recently released ex-offenders in Glasgow. They aim to tackle the problem of re-offending through training and employment in a 'real' work environment; a principal objective towards desistance from crime, and rehabilitation within society.

Sinead Fortune- Urban Catch. Urban Catch is a hub for urban food projects and sustainability education aiming to reconnect people with the food production process by bringing it to schools, community centers, unused spaces, and homes. It will focus on aquaponics innovation to bring food security to the community in an inclusive, fun way.

Michael McCandlish- Inspire Glasgow The idea is to create a hyper-local media website with a purpose to connect local residents with local businesses and community groups. They will report on news, promote local activity and business, and re-engage residents with local community groups.

Rhory Gardiner - Hungry Window. The idea is to regenerate a disused High Street shopfront in a way which will involve the local community aiming to inspire them to be more creative in their daily lives. Eventually leading to a high street shopfront which will also act as a gallery space, and studio space.

Mairi Hutchinson - Little Book Transfers. Little book transfers is an illustration company. Their goal is to promote ourselves as artists whilst providing a platform for up and coming urban businesses to showcase their work. By collaborating, they aim to create visual impact in public areas and give exposure to other young creative and entrepreneurs.

David Stewart - Think Yes. Think: Youth Enterprise services is a social enterprise that works with disadvantaged, disengaged and marginalized young people aged 16-24 within the NEET category to encourage them to have an enterprising attitude towards employment and life.
Tara Jade Stewart - Birds of a Blether. Confidence workshops for women in the community using drama techniques. Instilling a greater belief in themselves, enhancing communication skills, building confidence to strive for their dreams, pursue employment or further education opportunities. Drama can do all of this and more, building better futures for women in deprived areas of Glasgow.
Joseph Grehan- Junkitecture - The creative reuse of waste building materials in order to save depleting landfill space, influence climate change and to reduce the scarcity of our resources. In doing so, make a positive contribution to the built environment we inhabit through creative collaboration.

Jason McDermott - My plan for the social enterprise is to have a community lead multi functional coffee house. The coffee house will sell a selection of coffees, teas and healthy milkshakes and smoothes. The space can also be let out to different community organisations for cooking nights or for workshop areas.