Trading for Good: Social Enterprise Start Up

Funded programme for people who want to improve our world

People chatting while watering some plants in a community garden. A graphic reads 'Society and environment in your hands'. Logos for The National Lottery Community Fund and School for Social Entrepreneurs


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Learning and
development programme
Match Trading™ grant Ready-made network


Who it’s for
People developing social and environmental projects Planning to grow trading income Based in England Income under £20k

Develop your social enterprise through a specialist programme of support.

With a group of others like you, you will learn from experts and each other to grow your social enterprise. You will also receive a Match Trading™ grant that combined with the learning will support you to develop trading income and build a strong enterprise. 

The programme: 

  • Learning and development programme.
  • Match Trading Grant of up to £4k.
  • Ready-made network of people like you. 
  • Expert insights. 
  • Peer-to-peer learning. 
  • Join our community of 3k+ SSE fellows. 

You develop skills to:

  • Generate revenue through trading. 
  • Create a resilient, growing organisation. 
  • Adapt to changes in external environments.  
  • Create social impact. 
  • Develop emotional resourcefulness. 
  • Build and benefit from new networks. 

Request more information


Who it’s for  Learning and development programme Ready-made network of support
Match Trading grant of up to £4,000 About School for Social Entrepreneurs How to apply


“Without the support of SSE’s programme, Change Please would never have been able to achieve the impact it has today.”


Cemal Ezel, Change Please Coffee

two people talking with others in the background

Who it’s for

This programme is for people in the early stages of setting up a social enterprise, charity or social impact project that plans to grow through trading (selling products and services).

Your project: 

  • Is aiming to make a social or environmental impact. 
  • Has an income of less than £20k. 
  • Has been running for less than 5 years. 
  • Is based in England. 
  • Is aiming to grow its trading income by £4,000 or more in the next year. 


Is this the right Trading For Good programme for me?

Have you considered these other Trading For Good Programmes: 


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Learning and development programme

You will come together with seasoned experts, our experienced facilitators and other social enterprise leaders to develop the skills for building resilient, growing and impactful organisations. The programme will push you, building your confidence and skills. 

How you learn

SSE’s learning programmes are very different to traditional teaching. We’re not about essays and academia so expect to try new approaches and learn through doing. 

icon showing blue outline of a brain Social entrepreneurs and experts share their experiences, challenges, methods and insights.  blue icon of people outlines Your group is a ready-made support network who you will help you realise your ambitions. 
blue lightbulb icon Specialist facilitators create space for people to share, collaborate and develop. blue icon with outline of two hands either side of a heart Action Learning Sets help you take the actions needed to overcome challenges.

Where it takes place

Some sessions will take place online and some in-person. There will be a cohort in each of these two locations. When you apply you can choose which cohort to join.

  • London
  • Manchester

Topics likely to be covered: 

  • Setting up your organisation using a suitable legal structure
  • Developing your business model to generate an income and develop financial resilience
  • Developing your social/environmental impact and purpose.
  • Keeping a work/life balance
  • Building networks
  • Marketing and social media
  • Confidence building in your leadership skills
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Ready-made network of support

Connect and grow with others like you. Share your burdens, help each other stimulate ideas and overcome challenges.

We bring people together who are at similar stages of their social enterprise journey because the support, insight and connections that can be gained from the group has proved invaluable on all the courses we have been running for the last 25+ years. 


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“SSE offered me an opportunity to learn everything I need to make my enterprise a successful business. The added bonus is the invaluable support and advice provided by my peers and everyone involved on the course.”


Nour Chakroun, Inspiring Women’s Network.

Match Trading grant of up to £4,000

Your organisation will also receive a Match Trading grant of up to £4,000. This grant is designed to challenge you to grow your trading income. Match Trading has been proven to increase trading income and boost an organisations’ resilience. To claim the full grant, you will need to show that your trading income has increased by £4,000 over the year.

How it works

  • You receive £800 at the start of the programme.
  • When you increase your trading we increase your grant up to £4,000.
  • Income is measured each quarter against the previous year.
  • The grant is paid in instalments of up to £800 per quarter following the initial £800.


  • if you increase your income from trading by £3,000 then we give you £3,000.
  • if you increase your income from trading by £4,000 then we give you £4,000.
  • if you increase your income from trading by £5,000 then we give you £4,000.

Your grant can be used flexibly, helping you to attend the programme and to put your learning into practice by developing your trading and community business.

Learn more about Match Trading here.

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About School for Social Entrepreneurs

We can’t fix issues like poverty, climate change and ill-health alone. That’s why the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) exists. SSE helps more than 1,000 people a year develop the skills, strengths and networks they need to tackle society’s biggest problems. It runs courses that equip people to start, scale and strengthen organisations that make a positive difference. But it is not a traditional school.

Learning with SSE is inspiring, action-based and accessible. SSE supports people in other ways too, such as funding and mentoring. Lord Michael Young founded SSE in 1997, and it’s grown to support people who have gone on to benefit the lives of millions of people across the world. Together, SSE is changing lives and transforming communities. 

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“This was a fabulous programme and I truly thank those who encouraged me to take part in it. I was able to build knowledge, skills and confidence to further develop my organisation by identifying where the gaps were and develop strategies to be more effective.”


Marie Henry, Breadline London

About Trading for Good

Trading For Good is a five-year project, delivered by the School for Social Entrepreneurs with support from Power to Change and The Dulverton Trust, in partnership with The National Lottery Community Fund – the largest community funder in the UK. Thanks to National Lottery players, almost £5 million has been awarded to provide funding, education and support to more than 650 social entrepreneurs and community businesses across England. The programme will equip participants with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to develop and grow projects that tackle social and environmental challenges.  

How to apply

  1. Request more information here.
  2. You will be sent an email with guidance notes and a link to the application form.
  3. Make sure to read the guidance notes.
  4. Fill in the application form via the link in the email you are sent.
  5. Submit your form by 12pm on the 24th July.

Request more information

Info sessions

We will be holding online info sessions for those that would like to ask one of our team questions.

Accessibility and help

If the guidance or application is formatted in a way that is not accessible to you and/or if you would like support toto submit your application via a video or audio file, then please email [email protected] so that we can aim to meet your access needs in the best way possible.  

If you have any other questions please check the FAQs below before contacting [email protected].

Privacy and data protection

Trading for Good has a Privacy Policy which is available here. SSE also has a Data Protection
Policy you can read here.

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