Local cafes bring communities together thanks to Firstport support programme

Three social entrepreneurs setting up cafes in Glasgow and Fife to benefit their local communities have been awarded places on Firstport’s ‘Ditto’ programme. The entrepreneurs will each receive tailored business support, a detailed Ditto business manual and a share of over £12,000 which will allow them to take their businesses to the next level. 

The programme opens the doors to a network of industry peer support and will offer the budding entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop valuable relationships within the sector. They will also have access to a tried and tested business model provided by Ditto model contributor, the Crib Community Cafe in Strathaven. 

Euan Fraser of the Crib Cafe said: “We’re so excited to hear that through Ditto and our own contribution as a model contributor, more cafes are opening up. We created four full-time and three part-time jobs in our small town so just think what else can be achieved across the country.

“We’ve been on a long journey and made mistakes along the way. And so we are delighted that other social entrepreneurs can learn from our challenges and avoid some of the pitfalls.” 

Karen McGregor, Chief Executive of Firstport, said: “It is fantastic that these cafes now have the support they need to become sustainable social enterprises. A community cafe offers so much more than just a cuppa. They can become an integral part of a community and offer training and employment opportunities.

“The idea behind our Ditto programme is to increase the social and economic impact of social enterprises in Scotland by promoting a low-risk route to starting a business.  Replicating proven business ideas will remove barriers to self-employment such as the uncertainty of a business model and lack of confidence about starting from scratch.”

The successful social entrepreneurs are:

Jane Saunders, Little Bird Cafe, Fife
The cafe provides a welcoming and safe place for parents with young children. The funding and support Jane received will allow her to run a pop-up version of the cafe and develop an understanding of the market place before she receives the keys to her permanent premises.

Eilidh McKay, Project Cafe, Glasgow
A creative cafe for people to meet and exchange ideas. The funding and support will help the cafe progress to the next level and gain a strong foothold in the market place.

Sarah Bolland, Coffee and Craic, Glasgow
A cafe for the Gaelic community to meet, access learning classes and materials, speak with others at various levels; bring their children who are studying Gaelic medium education, or tourists and interested individuals who want to learn more about the Gaelic culture and heritage. 

Ditto is supported by Resilient Scotland. If you're interested in becoming a model contributor or would like to use one of the Ditto models visit our Ditto section on the Firstport website.