Social enterprise accelerator programme participants announced

Seven start-up social enterprises from across Scotland, including  a skin and healthcare products company, a gardening service,  a photography agency and a walking tour company, have been selected for this year’s accelerator programme.

Delivered by Firstport, Scotland’s social enterprise start-up agency, the LaunchMe programme supports ambitious social enterprises to achieve scale, by getting them investment ready and directly connecting them with investors looking for social as well as financial returns.

In addition to initial seed funding, selected participants have the opportunity to apply for grant funding as co-investment to match any private investment they secure during the programme.

LaunchMe is supported by the Scottish Government, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and Barclays bank. Previous participants include well-known social enterprises such as Locavore, Scotland’s first social enterprise supermarket; retailer the Scottish Design Exchange; and sandwich-shop chain Social Bite.

Josiah Lockhart, Chief Executive of Firstport, said: We are delighted to announce the latest LaunchMe cohort today. The seven selected enterprises have been working hard over the last few months to prove they have what it takes to realise their commercial and social impact potential. In the coming months, we will support them to get investment ready and connect them with our pool of social investors, so they can gain the capital they need to achieve their plans.

“LaunchMe has already helped secure over £1million from private investors and the interest in this type of investment continues to rise. We cannot wait to see what these participants go on to achieve!”

Aileen Campbell, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, said: “Our partnership with Firstport provides economic benefit through start-up social enterprises, and also a sense of pride and place for local communities. Social entrepreneurs, such as the seven participating in the next LaunchMe programme, are essential to building more resilient, connected communities where people can feel valued.”

To find out more about the participants and the programme, visit www.firstport.org.uk/launchme.