Social enterprises give new life to local high streets as part of Glasgow 2014 Legacy

A project to help young entrepreneurs start their own social enterprises and contribute to the legacy of the Commonwealth Games has given new life to Glasgow’s high streets.

The ‘Beyond the Finish Line’ project challenged 16 to 30 year olds to find social enterprise solutions to the widespread issue of high street and town centre decline. And tomorrow (Wednesday 23 July), sees the enterprises open for business, in time for the start of the Commonwealth Games.

Co-ordinated jointly by Firstport, the social enterprise start-up agency, and Icecream Architecture, the project used the momentum of the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the imagination of Glasgow’s young people to regenerate local areas in Glasgow’s communities. 

Karen McGregor, Chief Executive of Firstport said: “We have watched these businesses develop from an initial concept to the beginnings of a sustainable social enterprise. It’s fantastic to see each young person’s vision become a reality, as they open for business in time for the start of the Commonwealth Games. 

"The core aim of Beyond the Finish Line was to empower young entrepreneurs to pursue enterprise opportunities across different functions and move away from only focussing on retail activity as a means of social and economic regeneration.”

The project has produced a variety of exciting initiatives including: a youth culture magazine; an upcycling enterprise; an illustration company; confidence workshops for young mothers and a community cinema.

Treemendus is one of the businesses that is already making a name for itself in the city. Co-founders Shauna Gray and Sophie Steele set up Treemendus to encourage more people to recycle and reuse their unwanted furniture rather than throw it away. The business also recycles unwanted goods for community benefit and provides opportunities for people to get involved through pop-up shops and demonstrations of upcycling. 

Sophie Steele of Treemendus said: “Beyond the Finish Line has been a great help to us. When we started the business, all our ideas were a bit up in the air. But instead of just being left to do it on our own we’ve had a lot of support and guidance. 

“The project has helped turn our dream for an environmentally friendly and creative business into a reality.”

Beyond the Finish Line has prestigious Legacy status, awarded to projects in 2014 that will work towards creating a more prosperous, inclusive and accessible Glasgow. The project is funded by the Big Lottery Fund. 

Ends

Notes to editors:

For further information please contact Fiona Holmes, Communications Officer, Firstport on 0131 220 0511 or Fiona@firstport.org.uk