Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Scale Up Programme

We know that growing a well-established social enterprise is hugely rewarding – but at times, also lonely and challenging.

This programme brings you together with a supportive network of peers and helps you develop your own style of leadership, as well as equipping you with the technical skills you need to scale your organisation.

We could support you with:

  • Free learning programme (14 days spread over a year)
  • Match Trading grant of up to £7,000
  • Support network
  • Mentoring

There is no cost to you at any point.

Scale Up could be right for you if…

  • You’re ready to significantly scale up – for example, through social franchising, increasing your geographical reach, or making a step change in impact by developing new markets or partnerships
  • You’ve built solid foundations for your social enterprise, charity or impact project, and it’s been running for at least two years
  • Your organisation makes at least £75,000 a year (total income, including trading, grant and donations)
  • Not quite at that stage yet? Try Trade Up.

Register interest for 2020-21

Find out more

Hear from Cemal, who has completed the Scale Up programme:


I've already applied for this year...what now?

First stage is completed! We’ve assessed your online application. We’ll be in touch in May or June to let you know if you’ve made it to the next stage: the info session and interview. If you get through, you’ll be invited to present a quick pitch of your plans to a selection panel in June or July.  If successful, you’ll then be offered a place on the programme which will begin in October/November 2019 and run until October/November 2020.

How do I apply?

Ah shucks. You’ve missed the boat. This programme closed for applications on Wednesday 27th March 2019.

Is Scale Up for me? Am I eligible?

Scale Up can help you if your organisation is well established, and ready to significantly scale up through social franchising, increasing your geographical reach or making a step change in impact, through developing new markets or partnerships.

If you are looking to grow your impact and income from trading and sales, rather than scaling up, you should consider Trade Up.

Scale Up could be right for you if:

  • You have set up an effective social enterprise that has significant impact, and you plan to significantly scale up its social impact.
  • Your organisation is at least two years old, with income of more than £75,000 in the last or current financial year.
  • You’re aged 16+.
  • You’re based in the UK and your project mainly creates impact in the UK.
  • You’re committed to attending the learning programme.

Fill out the form above to download the guidance notes, which include full eligibility criteria.

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.

What are the dates and locations?

The learning programme consists of 14 days, spread over a year, starting in October 2019 and running to October 2020. Typically, you attend for a day or two a month (not including school holidays).

The Scale Up programme will run from London, England, in 2019/20.

What will I learn?

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.

The Scale Up programme will help you learn about:

  • Transitioning from working in the business to working on it
  • Building an effective team and delegating responsibility
  • The drivers to scaling
  • Measuring social impact at scale
  • Tools for developing and sharing evidence
  • Developing your business model for scale
  • Securing a diverse and secure income base
  • Building robust financial processes
  • Demonstrating investment-readiness
  • Developing governance for growth
  • Avoiding burnout and managing change
  • Joining a peer network of scaling organisations
  • Leveraging partnerships for scale

You’ll be in a group 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.

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. (This playlist of videos shares the types of stories you’ll hear.)

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.

How does the Match Trading grant work?

We want to support you to increase your income from trading and sales.

So as part of this programme, you have access to a Match Trading™ grant of up to £7,000. The Match Trading grant matches increases in your income from trading and sales, pound-for-pound.

Check out the video below, and read more about how Match Trading supports social entrepreneurs to increase their sales.

Match Trading™ was developed by the School for Social Entrepreneurs with the support of pioneer partners Lloyds Banking Group and the National Lottery Community Fund.

Is all this really free?

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

Logo for Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme, in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs and the National Lottery Community Fund.