The School for Social Entrepreneurs has announced a learning and support package worth up to £7,000 for entrepreneurs to start or up-scale social businesses.
The Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme, run in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs and jointly funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, is now open for applications from people who want to use business as a way to make a positive difference to their community or the environment.
The support programme provides social entrepreneurs with the financial support of grant-funding to start or develop a social business, as well as a learning programme and dedicated mentor. It is expected to support 260 social entrepreneurs at nine locations across England and Scotland in 2019-20 and also includes a tranche aimed at helping established social enterprises to grow.
Social enterprises are businesses that trade to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment. They earn money and make profits, but crucially they reinvest their profits to do more good. They do this in many different ways, from creating jobs for people who are too often left out of meaningful employment, to supporting community projects, environmental improvements or vital services for people who might not get them otherwise.
The latest data from Social Enterprise UK reports that there are around 100,000 social enterprises, contributing £60bn to the UK economy and employing 2m people. In total, social enterprises are worth around 3% of UK GDP – three times larger than the agricultural sector – and 5% of all UK employment, employing as many people as the entire creative industry sector.
Alastair Wilson, chief executive of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, said:
Forget textbooks, exams and complicated jargon. We are a school unlike any other. We know that people motivated to be social entrepreneurs learn through hands-on, practical and inspiring learning. We’ll help you accelerate your ambitions and develop as a leader. You’ll gain a support network of 20 people in the same boat as you, learn from straight-talking speakers who’ve been there and done it, and gain business expertise from Lloyds Banking Group mentors. Of course, you’ll get vital grant-funding to help you on your way too.
According to the School for Social Entrepreneurs, social enterprises are leading the way in developing diverse workforces. The latest social impact report reviewing the programme found that one in four social entrepreneurs taking part are from BME communities, and 62 per cent are women. One in four of the people who have taken part in the programme have direct experience of the social issue they are working to address.
La’Toyah Lewis, founder of Rising Stars Cleaning, is a fellow of the programme. She said:
As an ex-offender myself I knew starting a business was going to be hard work, but I was determined to succeed. The learning I gained with the School for Social Entrepreneurs and the support from my Lloyds Bank mentor made me realise that other people believed in me, and my vision, for the business. We’re a thriving social business now.
Rising Stars provides a range of cleaning services but we also run employability skills training and work experience opportunities. We work closely with agencies like the Job Centre and local support services. I’ve been able to provide training and employment to so many different people. Currently we employ 13 people directly and 10 of them haven’t had a job before they joined our team. I’m proud of Rising Stars Cleaning and I’d encourage anyone who wants to make a positive change by building a business to apply.
Applications to the programme are open now until Wednesday 27th March, and learning programmes will be delivered in venues across the UK. To find out more, visit www.bethesocialchange.com.
Image: School for Social Entrepreneurs