Map of Support

Advice, support and development resources for social enterprises

Finding the right support as a social entrepreneur can be daunting. Whether you need advice on what legal structure would suit your social enterprise, you need to identify suitable training opportunities or you’re looking to put a bid in for your first public sector contract, it can be hard to know where to start.

Thankfully, our friends at Community Enterprise have painstakingly put together a ‘Map of Support’, a comprehensive and structured catalogue of support organisations across Scotland and the UK, many of whom specifically deal with issues affecting social enterprises.

Browse through the organisations below to find the support you need.

For funding-related issues, check out Funding Scotland’s website to search for anything from small grants to funding for big capital projects, and be sure to keep an eye on our Noticeboard, which lists a range of funding rounds suitable for social enterprises to apply for.

Council for Ethnic Minority Voluntary Organisations (CEMVO)
Support to the Ethnic minority third sector including specific social enterprise support.
Climate Action Network
A grassroots network of community groups that are taking action on climate change.
Community Resources Network Scotland
Specific Support for Recycling.
Community Energy Scotland
Specific Support for Community Energy.
Community Land Scotland
Networking, lobbying and support to community groups who own and manage land.
Community Transport Association
Specific Support for Community Transport.
Community Woodlands Scotland
Specific Support for Community Woodlands.
Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)
Umbrella body for local authorities and the main conduit for national negotiations (though some have split off into the Scottish Local Government Partnership).
Cultural Enterprise Office
Enterprise support to arts and creative organisations.
Development Trust Association Scotland
DTA Scotland s vision is to have a successful development trust in every community that wants one. To achieve this DTA Scotland will address itself to four key areas of activity: Encouraging the growth of new development trusts. Support and strengthening established development trusts. Promoting and representing the interests of development trusts.
Federation of City Farms and Gardens
Specific Support for Community Growing.
Federation of Small Business (FSB)
The Federation of Small Businesses is the UK s largest campaigning pressure group promoting and protecting the interests of the self-employed and owners of small firms. This can include social enterprises.
Support to Sustainable Food Projects.
Plunkett Foundation Scotland
Specific Support for Community Retail.
Scottish Communities for Health and Well-being
Support for Community-led Health.
Scottish Community Alliance
Their overarching aim is to help the community sector in Scotland to develop its own distinct identity and voice so that it can campaign effectively on a wide range of issues. They see their work as having two main functions to promote the work of local people in their communities and to influence national policy development.
Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO)
SCVO services help charities, social enterprises and voluntary sector organisations across Scotland and campaigns for better conditions.
Scottish Federation of Housing Associations
Networking, lobbying and support for housing associations, largely the larger providers.
Scottish League of Credit Unions
Networking, campaigning and support to credit unions.
Association of British Credit Unions Limited
Networking, campaigning and support to credit unions.
Senscot builds and services a network to help social entrepreneurs become more effective. They raise awareness, bring social enterprises together and lead on strategy.
Social Enterprise Scotland
The national lobbying voice organisation for social enterprise in Scotland.
Social Firms Scotland
National support body for the development and promotion of Social Firms in Scotland. Aim to help social enterprises learn more about Social Firms and how to develop and grow dynamic businesses that create jobs for severely disadvantaged people.
Voluntary Action Scotland
Umbrella body for Third Sector Interfaces.
Voluntary Arts Scotland
Specific Support for Community Arts.
Volunteer Scotland
The national centre for volunteering exists to create the conditions for well-resourced volunteering.
Support for chief officers of voluntary organisations.
PWC Social Entrepreneurs Club
Peer support for social entrepreneurs.
Skills Development Scotland (SDS)
SDS works with partners across Scotland to deliver a variety of work-based training and learning with programmes that can be accessed by social enterprises.
Social Enterprise Academy
Provides programmes in Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Social Impact Measurement for people and organisations at any stage in their development.
Social Learning Company
Consultancy support around learning.
Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health
Focusing on health and wellbeing, the Centre's aim is to transform the lives of vulnerable communities through pioneering research in micro-finance, social business and health economics.
John Pearce Social Enterprise Collection
Curated by Glasgow Caledonian University, this is a new collection of social enterprise documents and manuscripts. It is open to the public for research use.
CIC Regulator
Regulates community interest companies.
Companies House
Companies House incorporates and dissolves limited companies, registers the information companies are legally required to supply and makes that information available to the public.
Cooperative Development Scotland
They offer advice to help choose the best co-operative business model for organisations. They will also guide groups through the process, including access to funding and legal models.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
The UK s tax authority. Offering information and advice on all matter relating to tax.
Intellectual Property Office
The official government body responsible for intellectual property (IP) rights including patents, designs, trademarks and copyright.
Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR)
The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) is a Non-Ministerial Department and part of the Scottish Administration following commencement of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005. They are the independent regulator and registrar for over 23,500 Scottish charities.
Senscot Legal
Senscot Legal offers a range of affordable, accessible, approachable legal advice services to social enterprises and the wider third sector.
Public Contracts Scotland
Find details of contracts with Scottish Local Authorities, NHS Scotland, the Scottish Government, Agencies and NDPBs, Higher and Further Education and Emergency Services by browsing the available contracts. You can also register to receive free e-mail alerts.
Ready for Business
Programme of support and information to increase third sector up-take of tender opportunities.
Supplier Development Programme
The SDP aims to assist enterprising organisations free support to improve their performance in winning contracts with public sector organisations. They offer information, support and training events.
Partnership for Procurement (P4P)
P4P is a new initiative which supports social enterprises and third sector organisations to build partnerships and consortia to better access public procurement and other contracting opportunities.
Business Gateway
Business Gateway offers a wide range of professional resources, business advice and free training workshops to support all types of social enterprises and businesses.
Business Mentoring Scotland
Business Mentoring Scotland is a Scottish Chambers of Commerce programme in partnership with Scottish Enterprise, delivered locally by the regional Chambers of Commerce.
CEIS leads on and delivers various support programmes for social enterprises including Just Enterprise and Ready for Business. They have been instrumental in the internationalisation of social enterprise and in the development of policy, often articulated at a national conference. They undertake social research as part of Social Value Lab.
Community Enterprise
Community Enterprise re-invests its profits from social enterprise consultancy work to fund free capacity building to support early growth and planning, and on-going mentoring. As well as this it delivers national, thematic and regional support contracts which social enterprises can tap into.
Community Ownership Support Service
Guidance and support to communities planning to take on assets.
Cranfield Trust
Shorter term intervention from corporate volunteers.
Entrepreneurial Spark
Enterprise incubator programme.
Evaluation Support Scotland
Evaluation Support Scotland (ESS) works with third sector organisations and funders so that they can measure and report on their impact. Their website gives access to evaluation tools and support. ESS works with funders to make reporting more useful, and shares learning about the difference the third sector makes.
Firstport supports new social enterprises during start up with issues such as choosing a legal structure, developing and strengthening a business model, writing a business plan and cash flow projections. They also provide a programme of workshops tailored to the needs of start-up social enterprises. Support is free as part of the Just Enterprise programme. Firstport have also developed new initiatives including geographically specific support such as Vital Spark, an incubator process in Argyll and Bute and Ditto, a business replication tool.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise
They work in a similar way to Scottish Enterprise, but combine economic development with community development and are more involved at a local community level, helping develop and support sustainable solutions to the challenges experienced in remote rural areas. HIE and Scottish Enterprise have now been merged under a single board.
Highlands and Islands Social Enterprise Zone (HISEZ)
Highland and Islands Social Enterprise Zone was Scotland’s first CIC. They provide business support, mentoring and networking events to social enterprises across the Highlands and Islands.
Inspiralba provides business support, community development and strategic planning to existing and aspiring social enterprises in Argyll and Bute.
Investing for Good
Works with charities and social enterprises to help them develop and improve their impact measurement and reporting capabilities. Offers several services and free publications to assist SEs with impact strategy, planning and reporting.
Just Enterprise
One to one business advisory support and free business training workshops (funded under contract from the Scottish Government).
Pilot Light
Pilot Light match directors from charities and social enterprises with teams of senior business people and facilitate a yearlong engagement to plan for sustainability, development and growth.
Scottish Business in the Community
Scottish Business in the Community (SBC) works with their members and partners to strengthen communities so people can thrive, businesses can flourish sustainably and Scotland is a greener place in which to live. They offer events, training, Employee volunteering and other initiatives.
Scottish Development International Smart Exporter
Advice, training, and funding to support businesses looking to sell their produce outside Scotland.
Scottish Enterprise
Scottish Enterprise supports the development of globally competitive companies by offering an integrated business support model where companies with ambitions to grow significantly (around £400,000 in a year) can access the right type of support at the right stage of their growth. There is one member of staff with a social enterprise specialism. Scottish Enterprise and HIE have been merged under a single board.
Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service
The Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service provide expert advice, one-to-one support, training and events for manufacturing businesses of all sizes throughout Scotland. The practitioner team are hands-on experts in process improvement, lean manufacturing, innovation and allied disciplines.
Social Audit Network
Facilitates the exchange of information and experience between practitioners of social accounting and audit in the social economy and voluntary sectors.
Social Enterprise Networks (SENs)
Geographical and National thematic networks of peer support and joint working. Thematic networks are in Food, Culture, Employability, Health and Sport.
Mentors Me
Mentoring programme.
The Lens
Provides ‘intrapraneurship’ capacity building for third sector organisations to assist them with innovation and development, including enterprise through trading.
Third Sector Interfaces
Information and support to organisations and individuals involved in the voluntary sector including social enterprise. One in each local authority.
Third Sector Internships Scotland
Third Sector Internships Scotland helps students to find paid work experience in the Third Sector. Through the TSIS programme, students are offered opportunities to develop their skills and experience whilst contributing to the work of Scotland’s third sector. Includes digital interns, creative interns.
Voluntary Action Scotland
Umbrella body for Third Sector Interfaces and a strong policy force.
Support and capacity building for entrepreneurs and Self-reliant Groups. Offers training, mentoring and business support for individuals and groups and develops local hubs for incubating income-generating ideas.
Young Enterprise Scotland
Support to young people, not restricted to, but including social enterprise.
Community Catalysts
Works with local partners, such as local and health authorities and third sector infrastructure organisations, to understand and create the necessary culture and systems change needed to enable community enterprises to flourish in their area. Helps wellbeing, health and care enterprises negotiate the many regulatory, legislative and bureaucratic barriers they face.
Scottish Community Development Centre
Training and consultancy support to organisations and individuals in all aspects of community development.
Social Value Lab
Works in Scotland, UK-wide and internationally conducting research, demonstrating impact, developing new social ventures, and supporting others to do the same.