Social enterprise and third sector businesses stand strong in Scotland

Posted in: General News

Social Enterprise consortium, Just Enterprise, has assisted over 4,600 social businesses in the last two years, Deputy First Minister and Finance Secretary John Swinney announced today.

Just Enterprise, supported by the Scottish Government, is committed to ensuring that Scotland’s enterprising third sector is able to grow sustainably in a challenging economic climate.

The 4,600 companies that have benefitted from Just Enterprise provide a wide range of diverse services, from Wild Things! on the Moray coast, which provides inspirational outdoor education to people from deprived areas and accredited training for course leaders, to Fusion Bites which offers a professional catering service whilst facilitating training and employment opportunities for women in the local ethnic minority community.

Just Enterprise has assisted businesses the length and breadth of the country with a number of different vital services. Between 2012-2014, 6,334 enquiries were handled with 4,601 receiving support. The breakdown of service assistance for social enterprises are:

  • Business support – 671
  • Start up support – 1,231
  • Leadership development – 480
  • Business development workshop – 1,619
  • Start-up workshop – 600

Geographical spread of assisted social enterprises is:

  • Highlands and Islands – 18%
  • West – 36%
  • Central – 12%
  • South – 4%
  • North East – 9%
  • East – 21%

Mr Swinney said:

“Just Enterprise has had a fantastic response from all over Scotland, with over 4,600 of our country’s social enterprises receiving support in only two years.

“Social enterprises, voluntary organisations and community organisations deliver superb services, create employment opportunities and connect with the most vulnerable people in our society. By investing in the third sector and helping social enterprises be more self-sufficient, we can look forward to a future where these organisations play a full role in public sector reform, and help mitigate the impact of UK Government’s welfare reforms.

“Just Enterprise forms part of Scottish Government’s much wider, holistic support for social enterprises, and this is gaining international recognition. An enterprising third sector is a vital partner in our economy, in civic society and in the creation of a fairer and more inclusive Scotland. Social enterprises deliver vital services, create employment opportunities and connect with the most vulnerable people in our society.

“Our work to create an environment where social enterprise can thrive is part of a revolution in the delivery of services, of government and in building successful businesses that also address the burden of inequality in our society.

“That is why we have invested heavily to help the sector develop – but it’s not just about money – it’s about support and guidance at every level. It’s this all-inclusive support for social enterprise and the third sector at every level that is distinctive about our approach – and that is delivering real results here in Scotland.”

Pauline Graham, CEO, Social Firms Scotland said:

“In Social Firms Scotland’s view and experience, we have signposted all of our members to Just Enterprise for their business support needs. I think the programme offering is comprehensive, accessible and impactful.”

Fraser Kelly, CEO, Social Enterprise Scotland said:

“Dovetailing with policies, for example, on procurement and community empowerment, Scottish Government’s continued investment in the Just Enterprise Programme is clear evidence of the value placed on social enterprise as an emerging and growing part of the Scottish economy.”

Aidan Pia, Executive Director, SENSCOT said:

“Just Enterprise provides valuable business development support to scores of SEN members up and down the country. It continues to play an important role in the pipeline of support available to social enterprises as they make an increasing contribution both economically and social to local communities across Scotland”

Case studies

Fusion Bites – Glasgow

Merge Welfare are a group of local women from various ethnic backgrounds who came together to use their talents as skilled cooks to develop a catering business which they aptly named “Fusion Bites”. Fusion Bites offers a professional catering service whilst facilitating training and employment opportunities for women in the local ethnic minority community.

Having secured a £3,000 development fund from a local “Dragon’s Den” type competition, Merge Welfare applied to Just Enterprise for support with market research and business planning for Fusion Bites.

Delivered Next Day Personally – East Kilbride

Delivered Next Day Personally (DNDP) is a secure and competitively priced courier service based in East Kilbride. Its key objective is to help people with disabilities become usefully self-employed by providing flexible work opportunities. DNDP’s corporate social responsibility agenda makes it the stand out company in the local courier market; however they had identified a need to develop a marketing strategy and action plan to ensure future income generation. It was hoped that this would assist with both the recruitment of staff and the award of new contracts.

An experienced Just Enterprise marketing consultant was assigned to work with the founder of DNDP, Bruce Gunn, on a one to one basis.

Wild Things! – Moray Coast

Based on the Moray coast, Wild Things! provide inspirational outdoor education to people from deprived areas as well as accredited training for course leaders. Keen to look at ways to increase trading income and change their approach from a charity to a business, they applied to Just Enterprise for help. The organisation recognised they had been too dependent on grants and that this source of income was drying up and they needed to change their business model.

Rosie’s Social Enterprises – East Scotland

A trading subsidiary of Turning Point Scotland, Rosie’s Social Enterprises provides vocational training, support and work experience for people recovering from acquired brain injuries, mental health issues and a range of other conditions. The organisation operates a number of enterprises which provide placements to its service users including Rosie’s Café, Rosie’s Framers & Crafts and Rosie’s Gift Shop.

At the point of applying to Just Enterprise, the organisation were in the process of revamping their wedding stationery business. “Rosie’s Wedding Stationery” had experienced growth over recent years and it was time to take stock and plan for future development. The Just Enterprise adviser was able to assist the organisation with the business planning process. Support included facilitation of group sessions with the “Rosie’s Wedding Stationery” staff team; creation of a business development plan and guidance through the implementation phase.

Carrick Centre – South Ayrshire

The Carrick Centre in Maybole is a £2m multi-purpose centre offering a wide range of facilities to meet the needs of the local community. Service provision includes event space and meeting room hire, a programme of leisure activities, a café and a soft play area.

Having been fully operational for 18 months, the centre’s main issue was to grow visitor numbers to justify investment to date and to achieve its goals for social impact and financial sustainability.

Through a series of development sessions, the Just Enterprise adviser supported the Carrick Centre’s Board to review the organisation’s existing objectives and formulate a clear forward strategy. He was subsequently able to work with individually nominated members of the staff team to identify key actions for specific business functions and draft a business plan document for Board review.

Velocity – Inverness

Velocity is a cafe and bicycle workshop based in Inverness. They have one aim, which is to help people get on their bicycles and promote a healthy, happy lifestyle. They have a young and dynamic staff team, and a fearless approach to trying anything new. The café was set up on a budget with recycled furniture and furnishings and within the space of 6 months has become a well-established thriving meeting place. At the point of applying to Just Enterprise Velocity was a very new organisation that had grown out of enthusiasm, and had won a business idea competition. They had a business plan but needed help to refine it and to implement the 3 core themes within it of the café, bike workshop and bike academy for disadvantaged young people. They needed support to get the café off the ground within a tight budget.

Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust – pan-Highlands

The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust (HSCHT) is a registered charity established in 1998 to help rural communities secure long term solutions to their housing needs. Since that time they have made affordable rural homes a reality for local households and communities across the length and breadth of the Highlands.

HSCHT applied to Just Enterprise for support to update their business plan which had ended in March 2014. The organisation had experienced significant growth since the plan had been first produced and the refreshed version needed to reflect this.

Young Enterprise Scotland – pan-Scotland

Young Enterprise Scotland (YES) provide training and practical learning experiences to young people aged 5 to 25, from all backgrounds, across the whole of Scotland.

Having identified an unused nursery in Rouken Glen Park on the outskirts of Glasgow to develop as a social enterprise hub, YES approached Just Enterprise for support to develop a business case with which to take their idea forward. The plan needed to cover a four year period detailing the introduction of new services and include financial projections that would satisfy a range of partners and funders.

The Just Enterprise adviser helped YES to pull together the documentation they had already drafted into a coherent story which clearly outlined the key milestones they needed to achieve.


Just Enterprise is a consortium formed from Scotland’s key social enterprise support agencies. Collectively, Just Enterprise provide expert Start Up, Business Support, Business Recovery, Procurement, Leadership and Learning Services, to third sector organisations across the length and breadth of the country. Supported by Scottish Government, we are committed to ensuring that Scotland’s enterprising third sector is able to grow sustainably in a challenging economic climate.

The Just Enterprise consortium consists of CEIS, HISEZ, Firstport, the Social Enterprise Academy, Forth Sector Development, Community Enterprise Ltd, CEMVO Scotland, Lanarkshire Enterprise Services Ltd, Ready for Business and Inspiralba.

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