Do you have the beginnings of an organisation that could improve a community or tackle a social issue? Are you passionate about helping other people or the environment?
We could support you for a year through the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Start Up Programme, run in partnership with School for Social Entrepreneurs, jointly funded by Big Lottery Fund.
This programme has been supporting people like you for five years, and 95% of students say it positively meets their training needs.
What’s on offer?
- A free learning programme
- A grant of up to £3,000 (free cash to help you fund your project)
- A community of people who run social and environmental projects
There is no cost to you at any point.
Is it really free?
Yes! Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland and Big Lottery Fund have funded every place and grant on this programme, because they are committed to supporting social entrepreneurs.
Is Start Up for me? Am I a social entrepreneur?
Start Up could be right for you if:
- You want to start up an organisation whose purpose is to tackle a social or environmental issue, and you’ve thought about how it’d work long-term.
- Your project is in the planning stages but ready to start, or less than two years old.
- Your project income is less than £15,000 a year (or zero).
- You’re aged 16+.
- You’re based in the UK and your idea aims to create impact in the UK.
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 – we welcome everyone, including ex-offenders.
- You education or experience – you don’t need any qualifications to apply.
- Any special needs – we strive to include everyone we can.
Find out more about eligibility in the Guidance Notes by downloading the Application Pack at the bottom of this page.
Here’s our CEO Ali talking about why SSE welcomes you to just be yourself:
How do I apply?
Go to the bottom of this page to download the Application Pack and to submit your application.
When is the deadline for applications?
The deadline is Wednesday 26 April 2017 at 1pm.
When does the programme run?
The programme runs from October 2017 – October 2018.
Where can I do the programme?
The Start Up programme runs in:
- Scotland (Edinburgh)
- Yorkshire and Humber and the North East (delivered in York)
- East Midlands
- West Midlands
You can choose the location that best suits you. (We can’t guarantee your first choice, but we’ll do our best!)
What happens on the 14 learning days?
The Start Up programme helps you develop your plans into a sustainable organisation with a clear vision for creating social impact.
Our learning programmes are 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.
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
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, starting up a social or environmental project.
You’ll also form an ‘Action Learning Set’ with some of them, which helps you reflect and develop in a trusted circle.
Here’s a video that explains Action Learning:
Our students really value these connections with each other: 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 14 learning days happen on one or two-day blocks every four to six weeks, so you have enough time to get on with everything else.
You’ll be able to keep your day-job and keep up other responsibilities.
How does the grant work?
All students on the Start Up programme receive a grant of up to £3,000, thanks to funding from Big Lottery Fund. (That’s free money to help you start up your project.)
If you join the programme you will be paired with a Grant Manager and the grant will be paid in instalments throughout the programme. Payment of the grant is directly linked to course attendance. There’s more info in the Application Pack below.
Will I have a mentor?
Yes, we’ll match you with a mentor from Lloyds Bank or (in Scotland) Bank of Scotland.
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.
Where can I find out more?
- Book onto a free taster session at your nearest SSE
- Download the Application Pack below
- Hear from some of SSE’s students in these YouTube videos
I have another question…
When you download the Application Pack below, you’ll receive Guidance Notes that should answer most questions.
If you have further questions, try our detailed FAQs.
You can also contact us (Mon-Fri 9am-6pm) us at Applications@sse.org.uk / 020 7089 9120.