Scottish social ventures awarded £500,000 of investment

John Montague, managing director of group operations at The Big Issue; cabinet secretary for communities and local government Aileen Campbell and Kieran Daly, Big Issue Invest manager for Scotland

Cabinet secretary for communities and local government Aileen Campbell joined a celebratory event held at Standard Life House in Edinburgh this week to mark a £500,000 investment and business support into 13 Scottish social ventures by Big Issue Invest.

Big Issue Invest’s Power Up programme, which aims to be a £1 million lending scheme offering investment and support to early stage social ventures across Scotland, was first launched in November, 2017 by Ben Macpherson, SNP MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith.

Power Up, pioneered by Big Issue Invest, funded by partners, Aberdeen Standard Investments, University of Edinburgh and the Scottish Government and with legal support from Brodies LLP, was aimed at enabling up to 13 Scottish social ventures to access loan funding of up to £50k over the next two years.

The period poverty-battling Hey Girls were one of 13 social ventures that successfully completed the three month Power Up Programme. Hey Girls recently announced that their products were hitting the shelves of supermarket giants ASDA and Waitrose. Hey Girls will also be a major provider in the Scottish Government’s initiative to provide free sanitary products all pupils and students, announced last week.

Aileen Campbell MSP said: “I am delighted that the Scottish Government is a partner in the Big Issue Invest ‘Power-up Scotland’ Programme. Social enterprises trade for the common good and these 13 businesses will make a huge difference, strengthening our communities and improving people’s life chances.

“There are now 5,600 social enterprises in Scotland – one for every 1,000 people. Scotland has a reputation as a social enterprise world leader and I am looking forward to welcoming delegates from across the globe to Edinburgh for the Social Enterprise World Forum next month.”

John Montague, managing director of group operations at The Big Issue, said: “It has been a fantastic day. We are so pleased, working in partnership with Aberdeen Standard Investments, The University of Edinburgh, Scottish Government and Brodies LLP, to be able to have been inspired by and to have supported these 13 organisations with the investment and business development expertise that they need in order to make an even greater difference within their communities.

“This unique partnership has brought creativity, technical skills and mentoring to early stage social ventures, which adds value beyond the funding they receive.”

Commenting on behalf of Aberdeen Standard Investments, Craig MacDonald, head of credit, said: “We have been delighted to partner with Big Issue Invest Scotland to provide expert mentoring support to early stage social ventures across Scotland.”

Dave Gorman, director of social responsibility and sustainability at the University of Edinburgh, added: “We are delighted to be working with the Big Issue Invest and to be a major partner in Power-up Scotland. The programme is a great match to our ambitions and we look forward to working with our partners to deliver real impacts.”

The Power Up programme will make £1m available to lend over the next two years and is open to organisations across Scotland. The funding available is to enable organisations to build on the good work they currently do within their communities. Whether it’s buying equipment, hiring new talent, or progressing with business development plans. Successful applicants will also receive mentoring and business development support to social ventures for the two year period.

The programme has been designed for early-stage social ventures, regardless of company structure - social enterprises, charities, and private enterprises are all welcome, with social value creation being the key criterion. The expectation is that many applicants will be accessing finance for the first time. The scheme builds on Big Issue Invest’s significant expertise in social venture investment, which since its launch in 2005 has seen the organisation directly invest over £30m in more than 300 social ventures.

Applications for Power Up 2018 are now open. Visit www.bigissueinvest/powerup to register your interest and we will email you an application form.

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