Networks1st Update: 21st November 2008

Yesterday`s Ceilidh proved a great success. Over 100 folk turned up and early feedback has been very positive. The Dragons` Den was won this year by Our Power (Cairndow, Argyll) for their new micro hydro-electric scheme. That’s three in a row for Argyll and Bute SEN – there must be something in the water up there. An added bonus was mentoring support from the Dragons. We’re all a bit jaded today so a full report will follow next week. Here’s a list of those who attended winning social enterprise, Spruce Carpets, opens its first shop on Kilmarnock Road in Shawlands Shopping centre. An ideal location, the new shop looks onto Kilmarnock Road for all passers by to see. The shop also brings a new dimension to the services Spruce provides to the community by being open at the weekend and more accessible to the south east of the city. There is a wide selection of refurbished, new and unused carpets, vinyl and carpet tiles available to buy and knowledgeable staff to help people who need some advice on quality and size. Delivery service also available and Spruce can recommend professional fitters. Notices Some good news on the funding front from a couple of organisations this week as the Scottish Government step up their efforts to support the Third Sector. John Swinney announced a new £1M award programme for new start social entrepreneurs at the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition event in Parliament this week The fund will officially open in March 2009 and will be available to individuals who want to start a social enterprise. Awards from the fund, which is open for applications, will be made at three levels ranging from £500 to £20,000 .For more information visit Also the Scottish Community Foundation’s Women’s Fund for Scotland has received a cash boost of £110,000 from the Scottish Government. The fund provides grants of up to £5,000 for projects which support and empower women. Grants are also available to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March – the theme for 2009 is ‘Global Women’. The deadline of 12th December, is fast approaching so you’ll need to be sharp. If you have any questions contact Annabel Bath, Grants Officer, Scottish Community Foundation Business lending soars at DSL due to credit crunch. A not-for-profit business support agency has seen loan applications from small businesses increase by 200 per cent in the past five months due to the credit crunch. While bank lending to business has virtually come to a standstill around the world, Scottish firms are turning to DSL Business Finance as it can give loans of up to £50,000 to small and start-up businesses, charities and social enterprises even if they have been turned down by the bank. In May 2007 DSL, which runs a £1.5 million loan fund, issued a total of £50,500 loans to small and start-up firms, but by September this had jumped to £160,000 a month. In the five month period DSL has issued more than £480,000 loans. The average value of a DSL loan has also jumped: in 2007 it was £11,000 but this year it stands at £21,000.Eunice Lancaster, General Manger of DSL, said the company is in a strong lending position despite the credit crunch and is also able to lend to businesses without security thanks to a Government-backed scheme called Small Firms Loan Guarantee (SFLG). Glasgow-based DSL is considered to be an “ethical lender” as it does not have any shareholders, take a profit or pay bonuses to its staff. Any money it does make is pumped back into making loans available for more businesses.