Month: January 2017

Grants from the Scottish Government and ESF to tackle poverty and disadvantage

The Social Economy Growth Fund is aimed at established organisations whose primary social purpose is to tackle disadvantage, poverty and social exclusion. The Fund is supported by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Scottish Government.

Organisations applying for grants are expected to:

  • support people to move into better paid employment;
  • increase household income;
  • improve people’s skills;
  • empower people to find and own solutions to poverty themselves.

Eligibility criteria

All applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • be a formally constituted organisation;
  • operate on a non-profit-distributing basis or have a governance structure which primarily does not allow for profit distribution;
  • have strong social as well as business objectives stated in their governing documents;
  • be independent from national and local government;
  • have a base and beneficiaries in Scotland;
  • have at least 3 people on the Board of Directors or equivalent;
  • have a bank account in the name of the organisation requiring at least 2 unrelated signatories;
  • not be insolvent, facing insolvency or be unable to trade or operate.


Grants of between £100,000 and £250,000 are available to support actual costs of delivery and will require a full and verifiable audit trail.

Application process

Electronic applications and supporting evidence must be submitted by 5pm on the 17 February to


5pm on Friday 17 February 2017

Full details including eligibility criteria and the application process are available from


If you need help with your application or just need some advice and guidance, do not hesitate to drop us a line at

Grants to help you get your social enterprise off the ground in Scotland

So you’ve had this great idea of making your local community a better place and improving the quality of life of those living in it. You’ve decided to put your idea in practice and starting a social enterprise looks like the best option for you. It’s because you want to achieve your social purpose, but you also need to make money to make it sustainable, so you’ve chosen to reinvest your future profits in furthering your social aims. But wait, you also need money to get your social enterprise started. On top of the time that you will dedicate to your cause, there will be other expenses to cover to get the social enterprise off the ground.

To give you a starting point, we have compiled a list of grants and awards for social enterprise start-ups in Scotland. This is not an exhaustive list by no means, as such sources of funding often change.

Fund Details
 The Social Entrepreneurs Fund

Firstport’s Award Programme supports individuals to turn their ideas into thriving social enterprises. The Awards Programme is funded by the Scottish Government’s Social Entrepreneurs Fund (SEF) and offers two different levels of start-up awards – Start It and Build It, together with business support from a dedicated team of advisors. 

With Start It you can apply for up to £5,000 start-up costs to pilot your idea. With Build It funding of up to £20,000 is available to cover an individual’s salary/living costs for one year, so that they can begin running the business full time.

Shackleton Foundation Leadership Award

The Shackleton Foundation Leadership Award is an early stage venture capital funding for social entrepreneurs. They provide up to £10,000 of seed funding to allow social entrepreneurs to establish their own endeavours to help the disadvantaged and socially marginalised in society. They look for projects with high impact and wide reach that provide solutions to difficult social problems.
Scottish EDGE

Scottish EDGE consists of four competition categories:

  • Scottish EDGE
  • Young EDGE
  • Wild Card EDGE
  • Higgs EDGE

Social enterprises can take part in all 4 competitions and will be assessed against the same criteria as all other Ltd Company applicants. Please note that as the Scottish EDGE and Higgs EDGE prizes now consists of a 50% element that will need to be repaid, applicants will need to ensure that the constitution of their organisation allows them to borrow money. 

If you haven’t started trading yet, then the Wild Card Competition might be the most suitable to you, with a grant of up to £10,000 and access to a non-financial support package.

Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs

UnLtd distributes funds specifically aimed at individual social entrepreneurs or informal groups. They offer a few different types of awards from helping convert ideas into projects to supporting individuals to devote more time to developing existing ideas. 

Recommended awards:

  • Do It Award – grants of up to £5,000 to start developing the idea.
  • Grow It Award – grants of up to £15,000 for individuals who have an established social venture or community project or who have the potential to develop rapidly.
  • Spaces 4 Change – from 2016-2019 100 awards will be available for young leaders aged 16-24 consisting of up to £5,000 project funding, a dedicated award manager providing tailored support, cohort support, and peer to peer networking opportunities for sharing knowledge and learning.

If you can’t manage to get a grant but you are still keen to pursue your social endeavours, then considering a loan specifically designed for social entrepreneurs could be the answer for you. Here are only a few examples:

Social Investment Provider Details
Social Investment Scotland

Social Investment Scotland (SIS), a social enterprise and registered charity itself, is the largest provider of business loans to the third sector in Scotland. They provide loans from £10,000 to £1 million to organisations who are unable to raise any or all of the loan finance they require from banks and other sources.
Start & Grow / Resilient Scotland   Start & Grow is an investment package from Resilient Scotland and offers investment packages of between £10,000 and £60,000 to social enterprises, community organisations and charities to start-up, develop and expand their enterprising activities.  Start & Grow investments are always made up of one third grant and two thirds loan, and are unsecured.  Loans are repayable over up to 5 years (flexible terms can be agreed) and are charged at a fixed interest rate of base rate (currently 0.25%) plus 6%.
Big Issue Invest

Big Issue Invest provides finance of between £20,000 and £3 million to social enterprises and charities that prevent and tackle poverty and create opportunities for people across the UK.
Charity Bank 

Charity Bank provides loans of £50,000 to £3.25 million to small and large charities, social enterprises and organisations tackling social and environmental issues.

UK based charities can apply for grants to protect tropical rainforests

The Waterloo Foundation is seeking applications for its environment grant programme entitled “Tropical Rainforests” to support initiatives working to protect tropical rainforests for their value to the climate, communities and biodiversity, principally through avoided deforestation.

The Foundation will support two types of projects:

Local Projects

  • Exposing, addressing and overcoming the local drivers of deforestation;
  • Management of the specified area;
  • Methods to measure and monitor the protected area;
  • Sustainable livelihoods for forest-dependent communities.

Strategic projects

  • Working on international or regional forest policy;
  • Campaigning for improved practices in commerce;
  • Innovative ways of reducing deforestation e.g. financial systems or solutions based on the value of forest ecosystem services.

Grant Size

The majority of the grants in this programme will be for a total of £50,000 – £100,000.

Eligibility Criteria

UK-based charities, many of whom work in close partnership with smaller local NGOs based in the countries in which they operate, are eligible to apply.
For tropical rainforest local projects applicants should be able to evidence previous successful tropical rainforest projects, with outcomes including:

  • Demonstrable protection of an area of tropical rainforest specified by hectare and cost;
  • Implementation of a management plan;
  • Improved livelihoods and income levels of forest-dependent communities;
  • The area of tropical forest the project will protect in hectares.

For tropical rainforest strategic projects:

  • Evidence of previous successful strategic programmes e.g. an attributable change in policy or improved supply chain. The Foundation may ask to see a full copy of the supporting data and evaluation at a later stage.
  • For your proposed programme, the specific measurable outcomes that you expect the programme to achieve, and the methods you will use to monitor these outcomes.
  • The strategy put in place to ensure the sustainability of the programme’s objectives for the long term.


1 June 2017

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted via email to For more information, please visit the Tropical Rainforests Programme.

Europe for Citizens call for proposals

The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) is seeking proposals for its “Europe for Citizens Programme” under the Civil Society Projects 2017 with an aim to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples by stimulating debate, reflection and development of networks.


  • to contribute to citizens’ understanding of the Union, its history and diversity;
  • to foster European citizenship and to improve conditions for civic and democratic participation at Union level.

Types of Grants

The Programme is implemented through two Strands and a horizontal Action:

  • Strand 1: European remembrance: Raise awareness of remembrance, common history and
    values and the Union’s aim.
  • Strand 2: Democratic engagement and civic participation: Encourage democratic and civic
    participation of citizens at Union level.

Measures in this strand are:

  • Town Twinning
  • Networks of Towns
  • Civil Society Projects

Grant Information

  • Maximum eligible grant for a project: 150 000 EUR
  • Maximum project duration is 24 months.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Legal status

The applicants and partners must be either public bodies or non-profit organisations with legal

2. Established in a participating country

The applicants and partners must be established in one of the countries participating to the Programme (the 28 EU countries). At least one EU Member State must be involved.

Potentially participating countries: the Programme is potentially open to the following categories of countries provided that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Commission.

  • acceding countries, candidate countries and potential candidates, in accordance with the general principles and general terms and conditions for the participation of those countries in Union programmes established in the respective Framework Agreements, Association Council Decisions or similar Agreements;
  • the EFTA countries party to the EEA Agreement, in accordance with the provisions of that Agreement.


1 March 2017.

How to Apply

Interested applicants must apply online via the provided eForm. For further details please read the Guide for Applicants.

UK based charities can apply for grants from the Waterloo Foundation for marine projects in Wales and internationally

The Waterloo Foundation is seeking applications for its “Marine Programme” to support initiatives working to halt the decline of fish stocks that communities in developing countries rely on, and those working to bring about sustainable fisheries in Wales.
Through the Marine Programme the Foundation will support two types of projects:

1. Local projects

Applications for local projects should demonstrate that they will positively impact upon the marine fisheries they are working to protect, and could include:

  • Development of marine protected areas or sustainable fisheries management;
  • Addressing local causes of over-exploitation of fish stocks and other seafood;
  • Creation of sustainable livelihoods for coastal and seafood dependent people.

2. Strategic projects

Applications for strategic projects that are working on addressing marine issues at a wider or international scale. These could include:

  • Working on international or regional marine policy;
  • Campaigning for improved practices in commerce;
  • Exploring different fishing practices and techniques;
  • Improving information exchange to eradicate illegal unreported and unregulated fishing.

Eligibility Criteria 

UK-based charities, many of whom work in close partnership with smaller local NGOs based in the countries in which they operate.

For local projects:

  • Applicants should be able to evidence previous successful marine projects, with outcomes including:
  • A demonstrable increase in fish stocks;
  • Implementation of a management plan over a specified and measurable area;
  • Improved livelihoods and / or income levels of fishery-dependent communities.

For strategic projects:

  • Evidence of previous successful strategic programmes e.g. an attributable change in policy or improved supply chain;
  • For your proposed project, the specific measurable outcomes that you expect the programme to achieve, and the methods you will use to monitor these outcomes;
  • The strategy put in place to ensure the sustainability of the programme’s objectives for the long term.

1 March 2017

How to Apply
Applications must be submitted via email to For more information, please visit the Marine Programme.