Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Scale Up Programme

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About this programme

It’s for established social enterprises, with plans to significantly scale up their social impact.

The programme helps social entrepreneurs to increase their resilience, develop different income streams and ways of working suited to the online, post Covid-19 new normal.

Change-makers are supported with:

  • Up to £7,000 Trade Back grant
  • Free learning programme (14 days spread over a year) focused on recovery, rebuilding, resilience and managing change
  • Support network
  • A mentor

Our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion

We encourage and welcome applications from social entrepreneurs from all backgrounds and are looking to make a real difference to the lives of their local communities. We want to make sure this programme supports communities that face systemic barriers.

We welcome applications from everyone with priority given to:

  • those working in deprived areas
  • people of colour and from minoritised ethnic backgrounds
  • disabled people
  • LGBTQ+ people
  • and/or organisations supporting these groups.

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


How do I apply?

Applications have now closed. Discover our other courses here.

Is Scale Up for me? Am I eligible?

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.  We will consider the impact of Covid-19 when assessing the income criteria. So if you were expecting to have £75,000 for Scale Up income this year, but you are not going to because of Covid-19, please tell us about this in your application form. We will take this into account.
  • 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.

If you are looking to get back on track with your income from trading and sales, rather than scaling up, you should consider Trade Up.

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 2021 and running to October 2022. Typically, you attend for a day or two a month (not including school holidays).

NB.  All learning activities will take place online until government guidelines on social distancing change.

The Scale Up programme will run from London, England.

What will I learn?

We’ll make sure the learning on this programme is adapted to meet your needs. Topics will be shaped by students’ needs, but likely to include:

  • 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
  • Developing governance for growth
  • Avoiding burnout and managing change
  • 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.

We’ll also match you with a mentor from Lloyds Banking Group.

How does the Trade Back grant work?

In response to the economic crisis, the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) has created Trade Back: a new type of grant that incentivises social organisations to trade, while supporting them to recover and rebuild.

The Trade Back grant is made up of two parts: a small traditional grant to kick-start recovery efforts; plus an incentivised grant to accelerate growth by rewarding an increase in income from trading.

On this programme you get a traditional grant of £3,000 plus up to £4,000 incentivised grant that pound-for-pound matches an increase in income from trading.

Check out this 80 second video

Trade Back draws on the learning from Match Trading® grants, which  have supported 500+ social organisations, increasing their income on average by 2.5 times compared to those receiving traditional grants.   Unlike a Match Trading grant, Trade Back takes into account the economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis on income from trading amounts. Trade Back grants match ‘pound-for-pound’ any increase in income from trading above Covid period levels.

Read more about how Match Trading supports social entrepreneurs to increase their sales.

Is all this really free?

Yes! You can use the grant for your project’s running cost and to pay for travel and subsistence to support you in participating in the learning programme.  The learning programme and mentoring is fully funded, thanks to funding from our partners Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland and The National Lottery Community Fund. The School for Social Entrepreneurs is a charity.

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