Scotland’s most ambitious social enterprises were unveiled earlier this week (Wednesday 31 May) as they pitched to leaders of Scotland’s business angel community.
Eight businesses - ranging from Scotland’s first all-female construction company to a project tackling dementia by language teaching - are taking part in LaunchMe, Scotland’s only social enterprise accelerator programme.
LaunchMe, delivered by Firstport and funded by the Big Lottery and the Scottish Government, supports the most ambitious, early stage social enterprises to achieve scale, by getting them investment ready and connecting them with investors looking for social as well as financial returns. In addition to initial seed funding of up to £25,000, participants can also apply for funding of up to £100,000 to match any investment they secure during the three-year programme.
LaunchMe has already helped 14 social enterprises on their mission to secure investment and increase their social impact. The programme has attracted the attention of the Scottish angel investor community and has successfully brokered a number of investment deals worth over £500,000, bringing the total amount of funding raised to over £1 million.
The latest intake are:
• The Workshop, Aberfeldy
• No1 Befriending Agency, Glasgow
• Lingo Flamingo, Glasgow
• Scottish Design Exchange, Edinburgh
• Building Futures, Glasgow
• South Ayrshire Community Transport
• KLAS Care, Renfrewshire
• Vox Liminis, Glasgow
Karen McGregor, Chief Executive of Firstport, said: “Over the last two years, we have shown that social enterprises have the potential to achieve scale and bring about more social and economic benefits to communities across Scotland.
“The programme’s unique way of using grant funding to leverage investment has successfully attracted a number of social investors, pioneering new ways of financing a social return.
“We have introduced the entrepreneurs to new investors who were previously unaware of social enterprise and helped them develop long-term relationships beyond the programme’s lifetime. £2 has been levered for every £1 invested by the business angel community because of the match funding."
Peter Shakeshaft, business angel and Firstport board member, said: “We have a very diverse set of social enterprises with one common aim – to do social good. They need our support and finance to create sustainable businesses. Social investment – including social investment tax relief – is a formula that works for both the investor and investee”.