Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Trade Up Programme

You’ve already set up your social enterprise. Now you want to bring in more income from trading, to make your organisation more sustainable and create more impact. You just need a bit of support to figure out how.

We know it’s not always easy to map out strategy when you’re caught up in the day-to-day of running an organisation. This programme will give you the head-space and skills you need to take your organisation to the next level.

Trade Up offers a year of support, including:

  • Free learning programme (14 learning days spread over a year)
  • Match Trading grant of up to £4,000
  • Support network
  • Mentoring

There is no cost to you at any point.

You’ll learn how to develop your income streams, measure your impact, manage staff and volunteers, and build a stronger organisation. And we’ll bring you together with a supportive network of other social entrepreneurs at a similar stage to you.

Trade Up could be right for you if…

  • You want to make your model more robust and increase your income from trading
  • Your project has been running for at least a year
  • Your project makes at least £15,000 a year (total income, including trading, grant and donations)
  • Earlier stage than that? Try Start Up. Already have strong foundations, and ready to scale? Try Scale Up

Register interest for 2020-21

Find out more

Hear from Duncan, who has completed the Trade 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 Trade Up for me? Am I eligible?

Trade Up could be right for you if:

  • You have set up an effective social enterprise, and plan to increase your income and impact in the year ahead.
  • Your project has been active at least one year, with income of more than £15,000 in the last or current financial year (total income, including trading, grant and donations).
  • 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.

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 12-14 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).

In 2019/20, the Trade Up programme will run in the following locations in England:

  • Cornwall (SSE Cornwall)
  • Liverpool (SSE London)
  • London (SSE North West)

If you need specific course dates, please contact the school you are applying to.

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 Trade Up programme will help you increase your income and impact in the year ahead. You’ll learn how to:

  • Refine your social impact measurement
  • Develop the link between your trading and your impact goals
  • Develop your business plan and income streams
  • Test and refine your marketing
  • Grow your customer base
  • Win contracts
  • Improve your financial management
  • Manage staff and volunteers
  • Project-manage and delegate
  • Improve your leadership skills
  • Develop your networks

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 £4,000. 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?

Yes! 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.