Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Start Up Programme 2018

The deadline is 1pm, 26th April – apply now!

You’re committed to helping people in need or improving the environment. And you’re in the early stages of setting up a social enterprise, charity or impact project to make it happen.

Now you’d like some support to get things up-and-running.  (If your project already makes more than £15,000 a year, try Trade Up.)

This programme could help you:

  • Learn how to set up and run your organisation: 12 – 14 learning days, spread over a year.
  • Fund your project with a £1,000 grant.
  • Get to know other social entrepreneurs, who’ll support your plans and help you through tough times.
  • Be supported by a one-to-one mentor.

Book onto a free taster session

Applications are open until 1pm, Thursday 26th April 2018.

There is no cost to you at any point, thanks to our partners Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland and Big Lottery Fund.

Apply now


How do I apply?

Applications are now open!

Download the application questions and our guidance notes below, then apply online.

The deadline for applications is 1pm, Thursday 26th April 2018.

After that, we’ll assess your application. If you go through to the next stage, we’ll invite you to two rounds of interviews to find out more about you and your plans.

Is Start Up for me?

Start Up could be right for you if:

  • You want to start a project or organisation committed to making a social or environmental impact, in a disadvantaged area or with people in need.
  • Your project is in the planning stages but ready to start, or less than two years old.
  • You don’t yet have any project income, or your project income is less than £15,000 a year.
  • You’re aged 16+.
  • You’re based in the UK and your idea aims to create impact in the UK.
  • You’re committed to attending the learning programme.

We’re not worried about:

  • Whether you’d call yourself a “social entrepreneur” – the key is that your idea or organisation is committed to helping those in need or improving a community.
  • Your background, education or experience – we welcome people from all backgrounds, of all abilities, and we make no judgements on your past.

Here’s more from our CEO Ali:


When and where is the programme?

The learning programme consists of 12-14 days, spread between October 2018 – October 2019. Typically, you attend for a day or two a month.

The Start Up programme runs in:

  • East of England – Ipswich
  • London and the South – London or Winchester
  • Midlands – Birmingham
  • North West – Liverpool
  • South West – Plymouth or Cornwall
  • Yorkshire & NE – York

You choose the location that best suits you. (We can’t guarantee your first choice, but we’ll do our best!)

I’m based in Scotland

We are not running Start Up in Scotland this year, but applicants from anywhere in the UK can apply to the locations listed above, and you can use the £1,000 grant to cover travel costs if you wish.

Scotland-based organisations with annual income of £15,000 or more can apply this year to Trade Up Scotland 2018-19.

Start Up returns to Scotland next year. Register for an email reminder in 2019 when we open applications for Bank of Scotland Start Up 2019-20.

What will I learn?

The Start Up programme helps you to get a new social enterprise up and running.

You’ll learn about how to:

  • Set up your organisation, using a suitable legal structure
  • Make money and develop your business model
  • Manage finances
  • Develop your impact and purpose
  • Keep a work/life balance
  • Build networks
  • Do marketing and social media
  • Build confidence in your leadership skills

You’ll be in a group of around 20 people who are at a similar stage to you, starting up a social or environmental project. (More info below.)

Our learning programmes are very different to traditional teaching. We’re not about essays and academia. We believe in learning from other people’s stories. You’ll hear from inspiring social entrepreneurs who speak frankly about the good, the bad and the ugly of running an organisation.

Here’s type of story you might hear – and this playlist of videos provides plenty more.

We’ll also introduce you to experts to help you develop new skills. You’ll build a network of peers and professionals who can support you.

The course is a transformational experience that will push, challenge and support you. It will give you the confidence and skills to create the impact you’re aiming for.

Who are the people I’ll be learning with?

You’ll be in a cohort of around 20 other people at a similar stage to you, from all backgrounds. You’ll form an ‘action learning set‘ that helps you reflect and develop in a trusted circle.

Here’s a video that explains action learning:

These trusted relationships with other social entrepreneurs are really important to our students: 19 in 20 students stay in touch with people they met at SSE after they finish the programme.

How much time will it take?

The 12-14 learning days are normally run in one or two-day blocks that happen every six to eight weeks, so you have enough time to get on with everything else.

If you need to know the specific dates, please contact the regional school at the location you plan to apply to.

You’ll also meet with a mentor four times throughout the year, when it’s convenient for you both.

How does the grant work?

All students on the Start Up programme receive a grant of up to £1,000, thanks to funding from Big Lottery Fund. (A grant is money to help you start up your project that you don’t have to pay back.)

If you join the programme you will be paired with a grant manager, who’ll help out with any questions you have about your grant. Payment of the grant is directly linked to course attendance.

Get more info from the application pack.

Will I have a mentor?

Yes, we’ll match you with a mentor from Lloyds Bank.

These mentors are business experts who are excited about social enterprise and start-ups. They volunteer their time to help you develop your organisation and overcome challenges. They can often make useful introductions too.

Is there a cost for me?

There is never any cost to you, thanks to funding from our partners Lloyds Banking Group and Big Lottery Fund.

What’s the deadline to apply?

Applications are open now – read through the application pack then apply online.

The deadline for applications is 1pm, Thursday 26th April 2018.

Where can I find out more?


Get the application pack!

Please fill out the form below to get the guidance notes and application questions. These include instructions on how to apply.

I’m ready to apply

Apply now