Useful information



Community Resources Network Scotland (CRNS) - CRNS is a membership body for community organisations managing waste resources at a local level through recycling, reuse, composting, waste reduction and waste education activities. In addition to providing information and advice to both existing and emerging community organisations, CRNS works to raise the profile of the sector through promotional activity and political lobbying. 01786 469 002

Development Trusts Association Scotland - National body for development trusts in Scotland. It provides information, resources and contacts to assists interested communities to explore the benefits and relevance of the development trust approach. 0131 220 2456

Scottish Community Alliance (Local People Leading) - The Alliance has two main functions - to promote the work of local people in their communities and to influence national policy development. 0131 260 9501

Scottish Community Land Network - Site for people interested in the management and ownership of land-based assets by communities in Scotland. Aims to provide relevant news and events, and provide opportunities to share ideas with other people interested in this subject.

SCVO - The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is the membership organisation for Scotland’s charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. Through lobbying and campaigning SCVO works to advance the shared values interests of their members and the people and communities that they support. 0131 556 3882

Senscot - Their role is to recognise the contribution of individual social entrepreneurs and social enterprises in tackling injustice and to support them and their endeavours. Senscot is active in 3 areas: Connecting and informing social entrepreneurs; facilitating networks and developing the sector. 0131 220 4104

Social Enterprise Scotland - National collective voice for social enterprise in Scotland, bringing together social enterprise and its supporters into a strong force for change.  A membership category for Start Up social enterprises is now available.  This is designed to be an affordable option to support the newest social enterprises in their first two years. 0131 243 2650

The SENs - Collective name for Social Enterprise networks in Scotland (both geographic and thematic). The networks offer a voice for social enterprises, peer support, resource sharing, market development and raise awareness and profile of social enterprises, locally and nationally. 0131 220 4104

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Business Support

BRAG - One of Fife's largest social enterprises, delivers the "Motivate to Innovate" programme, which supports aspiring social entrepreneurs and existing voluntary organisations who wish to increase their trading activities in former coalfield communities. 01592 780 568

Business Gateway Provides practical information and help to you and your business. Whether you are starting out or looking to grow your business, the site helps you find relevant support, offer you the latest on regulation and tax, and provide an access point for other public sector services you might need now or in the future. 0845 609 6611

CEMVO Scotland - CEMVO's aim is building the capacity of Scotland's minority ethnic voluntary and community sector. They build capacity and mobilise skills in organisations and their people; foster both individual and collective leadership; enable active participation in community, democratic and civic life; and work strategically to raise the profile of and create opportunities for the sector. 0141 248 4830

Community Enterprise - Community Enterprise is a high level, very experienced consultancy company offering community based organisations everything they need to make their ideas a reality, including market research, business planning, evaluations, training, research and fund-raising. They are a social enterprise themselves, 100% of our profits are re-invested in supporting the further growth and development of voluntary and community organisations in Scotland. 01506 862227

Community Ownership Support Service - COSS is funded by the Scottish Government to support community-based groups in Scotland take a stake in or ownership of previously publicly owned land or buildings. This adviser-led service is being delivered Scotland wide and  provides individual community groups,  Local Authorities and Community Planning Partners  with a bespoke support service. This includes a comprehensive  web-based resource, publications, training and workshops . 0131 225 2080

Co-operatives Development Scotland - Part of Scottish Enterprise, it offers advice to help you choose the best co-operative business model for your organisation. They will also guide you through the process, including access to funding and legal models. 0845 607 8787  

Cultural Enterprise Office - CEO supports Scotland’s creative businesses – it’s as simple as that. Their services help micro-businesses and individuals build the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. They offer free, sector-specific online resources, information and advice to those working within the creative industries, at any stage. 0333 999 7989.

Highlands & Islands EnterpriseEconomic and community development agency for the north and west of Scotland. HIE is committed to raising awareness and directly supporting the important economic role that social enterprise businesses play. HIE's role with these businesses is to support their growth potential through an account managed relationship. 01463 234 171

Just Enterprise -  a consortium bringing together Scotland's key social enterprise support agencies to provide business support and development services to Enterprising Third Sector Organisations across Scotland.  Just Enterprise is not a company in itself, it is a programme of support and it has four main partners: Firstport (start up support for social enterprises), CEiS (business support for existing organisations), HISEZ (business support for existing organisations in the Highlands & Islands) and The Social Enterprise Academy (learning and development for social enterprises. See Learning & Training). 0141 425 2939

Scottish Enterprise works with businesses across Scotland to stimulate economic growth and improve the business environment. 0845 607 8787 

Shell Livewire Established in 1982, the Shell LiveWIRE programme offers free online business advice and funding to young entrepreneurs in the UK.

Social Firms Scotland -Social Firms Scotland is the national support body for the development and support of Social Firms in Scotland – Social Enterprises where the social mission is to create employment, work experience, training and volunteering opportunities for people who face significant barriers to employment. 0131 225 4178

Youth Business Scotland- The Enterprise programme supports young people aged 18 to 30 years-old to start-up and grow in business, by providing funding and professional mentoring support. It provides free and confidential advice on business start up, assistance in writing a business plan, loans of up to £7,500 and grants of up to £1,000 and book-keeping training. 0141 248 4999

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Big Lottery Fund Scotland - Every year the Big Lottery Fund give out millions of pounds from the National Lottery to good causes. Current programmes include:  Awards for All, Investing in Ideas, Investing in Communities and Life Transitions. 0300 123 7110

Creative Scotland -Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across Scotland by facilitating ideas development and distributing funding. 0845 603 6000

Esmee Fairbairn Foundation - Esmée Fairbairn Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for people and communities throughout the UK both now and in the future. They do this by funding the charitable work of organisations with the ideas and ability to achieve positive change. 020 7812 3700

Foundation Scotland - Strengthen local communities by providing a source of funding to community led projects the length and breadth of Scotland.. 0131 524 0300

Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland- The Foundation distributes its funds to registered charities which are focused on improving the quality of life for people in Scotland who are disadvantaged or at risk of becoming disadvantaged. It has a particular emphasis on funding grassroots charities. 0131 444 4020

Resilient Scotland Limited -  Corporate trustee of the JESSICA (Scotland) Trust, Scotland’s only social investment trust, and invests in community organisations that will contribute to the sustainable regeneration of their local area.  A range of mixed grant and loan packages are available to support the growth of community organisations and social enterprises in 13 local authorities. 0131 524 0300

Social Investment Scotland- provides access to finance, business advice, support and strategic thinking to established organisations. Loan finance is available for community enterprises and social businesses that might find access to finance from mainstream providers difficult. Currently manages the Scottish Investment Fund, which makes strategic investments in social businesses that can use the funding to upscale and transform the size of their business. 0131 558 7706

The Robertson Trust - Independent Scottish grant-making Trust which exists to provide financial support to charities. The four main priorities areas are: Care, Health, Education and Training, Community Art and Sport. Donations can take the form of core funding including salaries and general running costs, project grants or capital grants for building or equipment. 0141 221 3151

The Tudor Trust - Makes grants, and provides other types of support, to voluntary and community groups working in the UK. Its focus is to help smaller, community-led organisations which work directly with people who are at the margins of society, and organisations which support positive changes in people's lives and in their communities. 020 7727 8522

This list is of course not exhaustive, you can visit Funding Scotland  and Grantsnet  to search other potential sources of funding.

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Learning & Training

Whatever your business does and whatever its size, HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) is an organisation you’ll come into contact with. Tax returns, VAT, PAYE employment schemes and much more are all administered by HRMC and it is a legal requirement that you inform them of your business status and self-employed earnings. HMRC has produced a range of tools for business start-ups. Please click on the links below to access the training:
Starting your own business
Becoming an employer

 also offers live recorded webinars which are online presentations hosted by HMRC. They usually last an hour and at the end of the live webinar there is time available to ask the presenter questions. You will need to complete a simple registration in advance giving your name and email address and then select the webinar you want to attend.Registration can be made through the link below:
HM Revenue & Customs: Online seminars for businesses and the self-employed 

The Social Enterprise Academy >-Tailors learning and development for people working in, or towards, a leadership role in the social economy. As part of Just Enterprise, the Academy delivers leadership courses for pre-start and early stage social entrepreneurs. These courses are either free or heavily subsidised. 0131 243

School for Social Entrepreneurs (Scotland)  - Empowers people from all backgrounds to create positive social change. They offer courses that help individuals start, sustain, and scale social enterprises, charities and community projects. 

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Banking & Finance

DSL - Provides business start-up and growth loans for small businesses and social enterprises that can't access funding from banks and other traditional sources. DSL only lends to businesses in central Scotland 0141 425 2930

NatWest -NatWest offers a community account designed for non-profit organisations, such as clubs, societies and charities.  No charges for deposits and withdrawals if your organisation's annual turnover is less than £100,000. NatWest also run the SE100. 0800 096 8334

Royal Bank of Scotland - RBS offers specialist expertise for not for profit clients, including charities, social enterprises and housing associations.

The Co-operative Banking Group - part of The Co-operative Group, the UK's largest consumer co-operative. It offers a dedicated Community Directplus account, which gives charities, community groups, voluntary organisations and social enterprises an ethical way to bank for free. 08457 213 213

The Unity Trust Bank - specialist bank for civil society, social enterprises, CICs, councils, and trade unions. It offers current accounts, deposits, loans and insurance services.  0845 140 1000

Triodos Bank - Triodos is the UK's leading bank for social enterprise. Its mission is to make money work for positive social, environmental and cultural change. Its range of services is designed to help ethical and charitable businesses with day-to-day financial management. Their current account offer:  internet banking, direct debits, CHAPS and Faster Payments and foreign currency transactions amongst other services. 0800 328 2181

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Office space

Brunswick House - owned by SCVO and the Scottish Association of Mental Health, Brunswick House has space available for charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises to rent managed desk space. The shared working space is flexible and is suitable for all sorts of organisations.

The Melting Pot - Social Enterprise which aims to stimulate and support social innovation - helping people realise their ideas for a better world. The Melting Pot provides affordable shared, serviced co-working space in the heart of Edinburgh for social innovators, charities, ethical businesses, freelancers and consultants. To help new businesses off the gound, they offer a 10% discount on membership fees for start-ups. The Melting Pot also offers virtual office services for anyone needing a business address and telephone and voicemail facilities in the centre of Edinburgh. 0131 243 2626

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Legal Support

Get Legal - free online reference and decision-making tool for charities, social enterprises and co-operatives. It aims to enable organisations and their advisors to access clear information and guidance on the most appropriate legal form and governance structure for delivering their goals

Senscot Legal - legal company set up to meet the needs of the social enterprise community in Scotland. Senscot Legal offers affordable legal advice of the highest quality to social enterprises and the wider third sector. 0141 332 8084

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Other Links

CIC Regulator an independent official whose role is to encourage the development of the CIC brand and provide guidance and assistance on matters relating to CICs. The CIC Regulator also decides whether an organisation is eligible for CIC status. 029 2034 6228

Companies House. Companies House incorporates and dissolves limited companies, registers the information companies are legally required to supply, and makes that information available to the public. 0303 1234 500

Guardian Sustainable Business Section - A section of the Guardian devoted to the social and environmental impacts of business across the globe, including social enterprise

HMRC The website includes information about the UK's customs and tax department and includes the prototype on-line VAT returns system. See above for details of training sessions hosted by HMRC.

Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator - OSCR is the independent regulator and registrar for over 23,000 Scottish charities, including community groups, religious charities, schools, universities, grant-giving charities and major care providers. 01382 220314

Pioneers Post - A social enterprise itself, Pioneers Post aims to deliver the news and set the agenda for the new wave of responsible business leaders and social entrepreneurs.

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