Applications are now open for people who want to use business as a way to make a positive difference to their community or the environment to gain free support and funding up to £7,000.

Over 2,000 people have already benefitted from the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme, run in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) and jointly funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and the Scottish Government.

Now in its 10th year, it is the largest programme of its kind in the UK supporting people to start and grow innovative social-impact organisations.  One in five social entrepreneurs who have taken part in the programme are from Black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME), one in 10 have a disability and two-thirds are women.[1]

Previous participants who’ve gone on to national acclaim include:

  • Josh Turner, founder of Stand4Socks For every pair of socks sold, a portion of revenue is donated to a good cause.  ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ 2018
  • Cemal Ezel, founder of Change Please.  Ethically sourced coffee, all served by the recently homeless.  Sir Richard Branson’s Startup of 2018 and Chivas Venture Winner 2018
  • Fiona Small, Young Mums Support Network. Named one of five most inspiring women by Pride magazine.  Her organisation aims to remove the stigma of underage pregnancy and help mums across the country realise their potential.
  • La’Toyah Lewis, Rising Stars Property Solutions CIC, provides professional cleaning and employment opportunities to ex-offenders.  One of the largest third sector Property Services companies within the West Midlands.
  • Abdul Shiil, Founder of Sahan Cares,  community interest company that trains refugee women to be care workers in the public and private sector.  Winner of Third Sector’s Enterprise of the Year awards 2020.

SSE is keen to make sure this programme supports communities that face systemic barriers. They welcome applications from everyone with priority given to:

  • those working in deprived areas
  • people of Colour and from minoritised ethnic backgrounds
  • disabled people
  • LGBTQ+ people
  • and/or organisations supporting these groups.

No educational qualifications are needed to join this programme. 

People who are in the early stages of starting up a social enterprise, charity or community project can apply to the Start Up level of the programme, which offers a grant of £1,000 as well as a support network, a mentor and a learning programme (14 days over a year) to help turn their ideas into reality.

Established social entrepreneurs can apply to the Trade Up and Scale Up levels. These offer a Trade Back grant of up to £4,000 or £7,000, a support network, a mentor and a learning programme (12-14 days over a year).  The focus is on growing their income from trading, increasing capacity, and developing leadership and business skills.

Created by SSE in response to the pandemic, Trade Back is a new type of grant that incentivises social organisations to trade, while supporting them to recover and rebuild.  (See notes to editors)

There are around 100,000 social enterprises in the UK, contributing £60bn to the economy and employing 2m people. In total, social enterprises are worth around 3% of UK GDP – three times larger than the agricultural sector – and 5% of all UK employment, employing as many people as the entire creative industry sector.[2]

Alastair Wilson, chief executive of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, says: “Changemakers need even greater resilience, skills and networks to survive and thrive in these challenging times. We’ve listened to social entrepreneurs on our programmes and have adapted our learning content to meet the changing learning needs of social entrepreneurs dealing with the impact of Covid-19.  Our learning managers have also adapted the programme for online delivery.

“Everyone is welcome at SSE and I’m thrilled that we’ll be supporting hundreds more people from all backgrounds – who are committed to improving the lives of people in need, tackling challenges in their local communities, or working on environmental issues. So go on and apply! What have you got to lose?”

Fiona Cannon, Group Sustainable Business Director, Lloyds Banking Group says: “The Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme helps develop the next generation of social entrepreneurs, demonstrating how both economically and socially we are helping Britain prosper but, specifically in 2021, to recover from the far-reaching impact of the pandemic. The programme attracts people who are taking action for a social purpose and using business for good. We believe that supporting entrepreneurs can help drive economic growth, as well as tackling social and environmental issues in communities across the UK.”

People taking part will start their learning programme in October 2021 and will come together with other social entrepreneurs for learning sessions for one or two days per month over the course of a year. Learning sessions are designed to be practical, fun and engaging.

Applications are open now until Friday 16th April.  The programme is delivered by the School for Social Entrepreneurs online and in-person – at nine locations, subject to government social distancing guidelines. 

Social entrepreneurs, or those running a charity or project that has an aim to improve their community or environment, can find out more information at www.bethesocialchange.com and can sign up for online information sessions running throughout March and April.

ENDS

Media contact

Hannah Corbett, Communications Manager, School for Social Entrepreneurs,

E: Hannah.Corbett@sse.org.uk T: 0203 905 3576

Case studies: Sahan Cares, Rising Stars Property Solutions, Stand for Socks and SS Dance and Wellbeing

Participants graduation photo to download

Notes to editors:

The Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme is run in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs and jointly funded by The National Lottery Community Fund. The programme supports social entrepreneurs at different stages of their social enterprise journey to develop the skills, strengths and networks they need to make a positive difference and tackle society’s biggest problems.  Each social entrepreneur engages in a comprehensive 12-month learning programme that is inspiring, action-based and accessible.  There are three entry levels – Start Up, Trade Up and Scale Up – within the programme, which includes a grant and a mentor from Lloyds Banking Group.  The programme has supported over 2,000 social entrepreneurs across the UK. 

About Trade Back grants

In response to the economic crisis, the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) has created Trade Back: a new type of grant that incentivises social organisations to trade, while supporting them to recover and rebuild. The Trade Back grant is made up of two parts: a small traditional grant to kick-start recovery efforts; plus an incentivised grant to accelerate growth by rewarding ‘pound-for pound’ an increase in income from trading.

For the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme:

Trade Up level participants receive a traditional grant of £2,000 plus up to £2,000 incentivised grant that pound-for-pound matches an increase in income from trading.

Scale Up level get a traditional grant of £3,000 plus up to £4,000 incentivised grant that pound-for-pound matches an increase in income from trading.

Trade Back draws on the learning from Match Trading® grants, which launched in 2017 and have supported 500+ social organisations, increasing their income on average by 2.5 times compared to those receiving traditional grants.   Unlike a Match Trading grant, Trade Back takes into account the economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis on income from trading amounts.

SSE and a Task Force of 20+ social sector funders and support organisations are behind Trade Back.  

This 80 second animation explains Trade Back grants

About the School for Social Entrepreneurs

We can’t fix issues like poverty, climate change and ill-health alone. That’s why the School for Social Entrepreneurs exists. We help 1,000 people a year develop the skills, strengths and networks they need to tackle society’s biggest problems. We run courses that equip people to start, scale and strengthen organisations that make a positive difference. But we’re not a traditional school. Learning with SSE is inspiring, action-based and accessible. We support people in other ways too, such as funding and mentoring. Lord Michael Young founded SSE in 1997. Today we work internationally, with teams across the UK, Canada and India. Together, we’re changing lives and transforming communities.

The National Lottery Community Fund

We are the largest community funder in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.  

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.

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[1] School for Social Entrepreneurs CLES report 2019.

[2] Hidden Revolution: Social Enterprise in 2018.