Application FAQs


What if I have particular needs which may prevent me from fully taking part in the Learning Programme?

If you have any particular needs or there are any barriers which may prevent you from taking part in the programme please contact us to discuss. We are keen to enable people with disabilities and with other specific needs to access our programmes.

What happens if my project will work with children, or adults in vulnerable situations?

If your project will be working with children under 18 years old or adults in vulnerable situations, you may need criminal records checks for staff and volunteers. Vulnerable situations includes health or personal care, assistance with finances or shopping because of age, illness or disability, transport to day centres, or other types of social work or therapeutic support.

The SSE can provide you with advice on this when you are setting up your project. You will be required to show that;

  • You have an up to date criminal records disclosure. We can advise you on how to get this;
  • Once you start providing services, you are following good practice on safeguarding, including getting enhanced checks for people who require them

What about other requirements?

  • You must ensure that health and safety standards are met to protect yourselves and others involved in your activities.
  • You must have any insurance (e.g. public liability Insurance, employer’s liability insurance, equipment insurance etc.) that is required for your activities.
  • You must also ensure that you have any approvals, permissions, licenses or carry out any criminal record checks required by the start of the programme.
  • If you are providing therapeutic counselling services, you must be able to demonstrate that you are properly trained and supervised, e.g. through membership of an appropriate If you haven’t got this already, we may make it a condition of your grant.
  • You will also be required to put Equal Opportunities procedures in place once your project has started delivering services. However, please refer to the guidance notes specific to your programme for more information.
  • You can apply for all these costs as part of the grant.

Can I apply if my project is hosted by a larger organisation?

You don’t need to have established a formal organisation, but if you have, it will have been set up for less than two years at the time of application. Your project may be hosted by a larger and older organisation. If so, it will have to have a degree of independence within that organisation. For example, is your organisation a franchise, or is it controlled by a local authority? If so, please give details.

Can I apply if I have a full-time job?

You can apply to the programme if you are in full-time employment as long as you are able to manage your project and attend the learning programme in a way that fits in with your employment commitments.

Can I apply for this programme if I have criminal convictions?

Previous SSE Fellows have included people who have criminal convictions, some of whom have used their experience in prisons to make a difference to the lives of ex-offenders. You do not need to let us know about previous convictions unless they are relevant to your application.

If you have unspent convictions for fraud or any convictions which may affect your ability to run your project, including working with children, young people or adults who are vulnerable, you must let us know, as we may undertake checks during the course of the application assessment.

Can I apply if I already have been on an SSE Programme?

If you have only been on short courses with SSE, then yes. If you have been on an SSE Fellowship programme before, we would expect you to have already started your project, so the Start Up Programme will not be relevant. The Scale Up or Trade Up Programmes might be of interest for more established projects (details are available on our website). If there were exceptional circumstances as to why you did not complete the previous SSE programme, we may consider your application, please discuss this with us first.

Can I apply if unsuccessful in the past?

If you or someone else from your organisation or project has applied before and not been successful, you are welcome to apply again. We often have people on our programme who are applying for the second or third time, and whose ideas or plans have developed since they first applied. However, we would suggest that you check the feedback you received in the past. If in doubt, you can contact us.

Can more than one person from our project apply?

We will only assess applications from one person from your project or organisation. Please decide who you would like to attend the programme and they should be the one to apply. Because of the way the Learning Programme works and how the trust within the group is built, it is important that it is the applicant who attends all the sessions. In general, we will not allow others from your project to attend the programme.

Can I apply if I am connected to SSE or to any of the funders of this Programme?

No. We cannot accept applications from people who work for or are trustees of SSE, any of its host organisations, or any of the funders of this programme. We also cannot accept applications from people who are closely connected to staff or trustees. This includes people with a financial or close family connection to staff or trustees. If you are unsure, please contact us.

Can I apply if I am supporting other businesses including social enterprise?

We do not usually accept applicants whose main work is providing training or business support services primarily to other businesses, including social enterprises or charities. This would include training, fundraising or management support. However, we sometimes consider applications where the services provided are mainly back office support services, such as HR, accountancy or office space, or where training is provided for people who are unemployed in order to help them access employment. If in doubt, please contact us on 0207 089 9120.

Can I apply if my project is a franchise?

We do not usually accept applications from projects which are franchises of another project. We expect that you would receive the support you need to set up from the parent organisation.

Can I apply if my project is controlled by a public sector organisation?

We do accept applications from projects which are public sector roll outs, or set up with the support of local authorities, as long as they are now fully independent. However we do not usually accept applications from projects or organisations that are controlled by a public sector organisation. If in doubt, please contact us.

What about Data Protection?

The School for Social Entrepreneurs is committed to protecting your personal information and acting in line with your rights under the Data Protection Act 1998 and will treat all data in accordance with our Data Protection policy.

We may share your information;

  • with our funders
  • with our agents or subcontractors for operational reasons
  • with other agencies in order to assess your application
  • with others for the purpose of compliance and regulatory reporting and to confirm your identity for money laundering purposes and fraud prevention
  • if compelled to do so by law

What about Equal Opportunities?

Equal opportunities in any activities are supported by the SSE.

Please help us monitor this policy by providing us with the information requested on Equal Opportunities when submitting your documents online. This will be used for statistical purposes and it will not form part of your application assessment. If you do not wish to provide the details requested, you have the option to opt out from providing this information.

Key Contact Details

If you still need any advice on your application, please contact us on 0207 089 9120 or by email to [email protected].

For more information please reference our website:


If you wish to make a complaint about any aspect the programme, please see our Complaints Procedure.