Paying a Social Call to some Social Entrepreneurs

Georgios and Amy with staff from Clydesider Magazine
Georgios and Amy with staff from Clydesider Magazine

Trade Up – A School for Social Entrepreneurs Scotland programme is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, in partnership with Lloyd’s Bank and the Scottish Government. The programme was funded to explore ways we can support social enterprises to become more sustainable and less reliant on grant funding. In this blog, Funding Officer Amy McLaren and Knowledge and Learning Officer Georgios Pappas took the opportunity to hear directly from students about how the programme has worked for them.

On the 24th of July, we embarked on a West of Scotland social enterprise tour with Peter Kelly from the Scottish Government and Tracey Muirhead from School for Social Entrepreneurs Scotland. We visited three social entrepreneurs who are part of a group of twenty students taking part in the School for Social Entrepreneurs’s Trade Up programme in Scotland. Through 1:1 tutoring, mentoring, and learning exchange sessions the Trade Up recruits have been working hard to create social enterprises that are more sustainable and can have a lasting impact. Through the programme, students have also been accessing match trading grant funding for their social enterprises – students set income generation targets every quarter and, if achieved, they receive grant funding that pound-for-pound matches any increase.

The grand tour 

We started in the West and made our way back to central Glasgow. The first stop was at Clydesider Magazine, a wonderful community media organisation and quarterly magazine based in Old Kilpatrick. The Clydesider promotes positive and inspirational local stories while showcasing the creative skills and experiences of local people. Members of staff and volunteers hold community cafes with other organisations to promote the magazine, find out more about what’s going on in the community, and generate or gather content for the next issue. It was excellent to get to see the creative process in action!

The colourful exterior of Lingo Flamingo's premises
Lingo Flamingo’s ‘Language Nest’

After missing a couple of exits on the motorway (probably due to Georgios’ poor navigation skills…), we visited Lingo Flamingo at their Language Nest in the Southside of Glasgow. Surrounded by homely shades of pink and blue we heard from Tommy, Lingo Flamingo’s Business Development Manager, about the social enterprise’s different approach to language lessons. Putting research into practice, learning a language with Lingo Flamingo revolves around the social and health benefits of the experience, incorporating reminiscence and interactive activities into lessons. We left feeling inspired by their aspirations for the future and reminiscing about language classes we’d experienced in school. 

After refuelling in a cosy café in the Southside, our last stop was a stone’s throw away from our offices in central Glasgow. Scott from Potential in Me greeted us at his new office which he shares with Audrey, School for Social Entrepreneurs Scotland alumni and No1 Befriending Agency founder. He talked to us about his passion to have a positive impact on the lives of young people and their families’ which led him to invest his time, energy and professional skills in his social enterprise. Potential in Me brings creative life coaching and personal and professional development to young people and the people who live and work with them (parents, guardians, teachers, service providers, etc.) to build resilience and sustainable opportunities.

Amy and Georgios meeting colleagues from Potential in Me and No1 Befriending Agency
Amy and Georgios meeting colleagues from Potential in Me and No1 Befriending Agency

It was an incredibly valuable experience to get to see the Trade Up programme in action and meet some pretty incredible people. We took away from the day both a sense of inspiration and a whole lot of learning.

Look out for the second part of our blog next week where we’ll share the top things we learned from our mini-tour.

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