Scottish Government launches £1m social enterprise fund

The Scottish Government is to hand out grants totalling £1m to aspiring social entrepreneurs.

The Social Entrepreneurs Fund, announced this week by enterprise minister Jim Maher, will give out grants of up to £20,000 a time to support new social enterprises in Scotland.

Grants totalling £500,000 will be available in each of the next two financial years from March.

The announcement comes only days after Claire Stevens, Scotland director of CSV, accused the Scottish Government of favouring social enterprise over the rest of the voluntary sector. The Government last week refused to renew a £350,000 grant for the charity's programme for retired and senior volunteers.

Maher said the programme would inspire individuals to devise solutions for economic issues.

"We have always been clear that the third sector has a crucial role to play in increasing sustainable economic growth," he said. "That is particularly true because homes and households feel the effect of the global downturn and unemployment increases."

The grants will be delivered by Firstport, a charity working to help start up social enterprises in Scotland. The grant programme is in conjunction with Firstport's UnLtd awards programme, which provides grants to individuals with ideas to benefit their communities.

Applicants will be given money based on their ideas at three levels: £500 for applicants who present a strong concept; up to £5,000 for a feasibility plan; and up to £20,000 for a business plan to implement the project.

Applicants can apply through Firstport. For more information, click here.

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