How can social enterprises shift from an over-reliance on grant funding?
A new funding model has been launched aimed at making social enterprises in Scotland more self-reliant.
Called Match Trading, it has been created by the Scottish Government, the Bank of Scotland, the Big Lottery Fund and the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE).
It encourages social entrepreneurs to focus on growing their income from trading, with a Match Trading grant unlocking a pound-for-pound match, to a cap of £5,000 for any additional income from trading the organisation generates, compared to their previous year’s income.
Twenty social enterprises from across Scotland are taking part in the trial, the first time it has been used in Scotland.
In other small-scale pilots, outwith Scotland, Match Trading has been proven to help social entrepreneurs to shift from an over-reliance on grant funding to a more sustainable future generating income from trading.
The social enterprise sector in Scotland comprises more than 5,600 organisations, which in total employs the equivalent of 81,357 full-time workers, and their contribution to the economy, on the measure of gross value added, stands at £2 billion.
Communities secretary Aileen Campbell said: “Scotland is considered to have a world leading support system for our social enterprises and programmes like this will allow them to expand and become more self-reliant.
“From healthy food and drink to ethical textile production, outdoors education to digital inclusion, all these enterprises have a specific social mission and reinvest all their profits back into the community.
“As part of Scotland’s ten-year social enterprise strategy, I’m delighted the Scottish Government is supporting this innovative programme. Next year, we will carry out a national census of social enterprise to ensure we continue to provide the best possible support to this growing sector.”
Tracey Muirhead, chief executive of SSE Scotland, added: “All too often we see social enterprises and community businesses become dependent on external funding to keep their organisations going. We want to help them shift the balance so they’re more self-reliant, generating more of their own income from the services and products they provide.”
One of the social enterprises taking part is Lingo Flamingo, which provides immersive language workshops to older adults and those living with dementia.
Tommy McGlynn, its development officer, said: “Lingo Flamingo is currently at an exciting crossroad and this is a brilliant opportunity to focus on getting our organisation to push ahead with trading initiatives.
"The Match Trading grant is an incentive to try new things, and that, combined with the learning programme, I hope will provide the opportunity we need to take our social enterprise to the next level."