Josiah Lockhart, Chief Executive of Firstport

BOOST It, a new programme from the Social Entrepreneurs Fund has opened for applications this week.  Delivered by social enterprise agency Firstport and funded by the Scottish Government, Boost It will support social enterprises in Scotland to strengthen their businesses so they can successfully sustain trading.

Boost It will offer awards between £30-50K to social enterprises responding to climate emergency and environmental issues. Unlike other existing funds by the Social Entrepreneurs Fund, Boost It awards will be offered as ‘repayable grants’, with recipients paying back a small proportion of their profits over a period of three years. All repayments will go back into the programme, allowing Firstport to support more social enterprise ideas to get off the ground.

Josiah Lockhart, Chief Executive of Firstport, said:

“We are excited to be opening this new, innovative fund. Having delivered the Social Entrepreneurs Fund for ten years, we know there is often a funding gap after our two existing levels of awards – social entrepreneurs have realised their ideas have potential and have decided to turn them into their full-time jobs, but they are still far from achieving sustained trading. In addition, many times social entrepreneurs do not feel ready, or confident enough, to access social investment. 

Boost It fills this gap by providing social entrepreneurs with a further level of support so they can strengthen their trading, whilst introducing repayable finance for those who may go on to seek investment to scale.

The Climate Emergency is one of the most pressing issues of our generation and we aim to unlock the potential of Scottish social enterprises to address this challenge.”

The funding was originally announced by Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government Aileen Campbell back in October as part of a £1.8 million investment package to support projects bringing about change in their communities.

The funding for Boost It signals the Scottish Government’s commitment to placing climate change at the heart of everything they do and the belief that social enterprises have an important role to play in tackling the climate emergency.

Aileen Campbell, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, said:

“Social enterprises play an important role in our economy and have a positive impact on our communities. The 2019 census found that they contribute £2.3 billion to the economy and employ more than 80,000 people, and that’s why we are taking action to grow this sector. This new fund will help social enterprises with a direct environmental impact achieve their full potential, stimulating further growth and support in this area and enabling organisations to expand and thrive. As a nation, we are determined to lead the transition to a net-zero carbon economy, and will do everything we can to help all parts of the economy contribute to net-zero emissions by 2045.”

Applications for Boost It are open until 3rd Feb 2020 and interested applicants are encouraged to visit the Firstport website for more information.

For further information or images contact Maria Ashley on 0131 564 0331 or maria@firstport.org.uk