The SSE difference that makes the difference

20 Feb 2024

7 people taking a selfie and smiling

It was clear to anyone that joined us at our Parliamentary event on January 31st, to celebrate the impact of 10 years of the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme, that the programme created transformational outcomes. 

Throughout the evening, our speakers all spoke to the impressive statistics from the report and highlighted the impactful work of SSE and our partners. The event was more than a celebration though; speakers such as SSE’s Sally Heard and Tracey Muirhead gave us a behind the scenes insight into what is different about an SSE programme and social entrepreneur Veronica Gordon highlighted what a difference that made to her organisation.  

Convening to create impact 

“This programme gave us an incredible opportunity to make connections across the public, private and voluntary sector” said Sally Heard (previously founder & CEO of SSE Cornwall, now director of development & external affairs at SSE). Heard highlighted the collaborative power the programme had across sectors. Commenting on the first in-person session between corporate mentors and programme participants, she highlighted the energy that immediately started to fizz in the room; “it helped us to convene and pull people together within the county… And that’s the magic piece.” 

Tracey Muirhead (previously founder & CEO of SSE Scotland, now director of Scotland at SSE) echoed the programme’s significance in bringing people together and highlighted its long-last effects, “Lloyd’s Bank and the Bank of Scotland investment allowed us to recruit from 32 local authorities in Scotland. We [in Scotland] have our own 10 year Social Enterprise Strategy and we’re heading into our last two years for its Action Plan with many of our students sitting at the table.” 

Person at a podium speaking

Income innovation backed by Match Trading 

SSE Fellow and founder of Our Version Media CIC, Veronica Gordon testified to the innovative funding model of the programme; “I discovered Match Trading and it was unlike any other funding that I’d ever received, and it got me thinking more like a business person. With Match Trading, I had to increase our income to receive [the grant]. This pushed and challenged me to actively seek ways to do that. I became more proactive in seeking new partnerships, new clients. I created new services and provided existing clients with new opportunities and all of this directly benefited our communities. It increased our social impact and it started us on the road to financial resilience”. 

The statistics themselves spoke to the difference that SSE programmes make to social enterprises; it was wonderful to hear Minister for Equalities, Stuart Andrew MP highlighting that SSE backed social enterprises surpassed SME survival rates by almost 10%.   

This resilience coupled with the increased ability to create social impact & benefit to communities across the UK is why properly supported social enterprises can be so impactful. This is why SSE is working in collaboration with many others in the sector to call on the Government to support a Better Business Plan for Britain, which offers a vision and puts forward policy ideas for a stronger, fairer and greener economy. Find out more about our partnership work on the Future Economy Alliance website. 

Read the report: Impact of the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme