Opening on Wednesday 10th February, IKR is not ordinary raceway. Led by entrepreneur Corrin Henderson, IKR is a social enterprise owned by Highland charity Day 1, which works with disadvantaged young people aged 14 to 17 years and helps them to discover some life direction focusing ultimately on moving into work. The raceway will provide financial stability for the charity and a base to deliver its ‘Let’s Get Driven’ programme.
The idea for the raceway has been in the making for a few years but Corrin accelerated its progress in 2014 by gaining a coveted place in LaunchMe- Scotland’s first accelerator programme for ambitious social enterprises. Designed and delivered by Firstport- Scotland’s agency for start up social enterprise - LaunchMe is an initiative of the Big Lottery Fund, which aims to grow the social investment market in Scotland. Firstport is working with the 14 most ambitious, early stage social enterprises in Scotland to connect them with investors looking for social as well as financial returns.
As part of the programme, IKR had access to funding, as well as intensive business and investment readiness support that led him to secure £100,000 investment from a private investor. Through LaunchMe the investment raised was matched by a £70,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund.
The money has allowed IKR to employ new staff and ultimately pursue their long-term goal of buying the raceway site, providing the enterprise further financial independence and stability. Once up and running, IKR expects up to 20,000 customers in the first year and hopes to support over 100 young people through the ‘Lets Get Driven’ programme and other accredited qualifications.
Corrin Henderson, IKR, said:
We are very grateful for the support we have received through LaunchMe, the money has gone a long way into getting the raceway to this stage. We have had overcome some unusual obstacles along the way but we are now ready and excited to welcome visitors to the site.
Our objective from day one has been to create a five-star Scottish tourism destination and we think we have achieved this. It is now down to the local people and businesses to support us and we are confident they will! We are actively building partnerships with local businesses and we encourage them to get onboard and support us.
Karen McGregor, Chief Executive of Firstport, said:
We are delighted to see that Corrin’s hard work and determination over the last two years has come to fruition. Corrin is part of a pioneering group of social entrepreneurs in our LaunchMe Accelerator, who are raising investment from new private investors to expand their services, enter into new markets and ultimately scale their social impact.
LaunchMe is a unique approach to supporting ambitious early stage social enterprises that can achieve rapid scale, bringing about more social and economic benefits to communities across Scotland. We believe that for social enterprise to reach both its economic and social impact potential, we need to encourage a more ambitious mind-set in social entrepreneurs from an early stage and support them to reach their goals.
LaunchMe is supporting 14 ambitious social enterprises across Scotland, including a courier company employing disabled people, a social enterprise letting agency and a soccer academy. More information on www.firstport.org.uk/launchme