Graduates of the School for Social Entrepreneurs reap programme rewards

Posted: 21 February 2024, in Blog

This month the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) is celebrating the findings of an independent report that demonstrates the impact of their support for the social enterprise community.

The independent report by AKOU researched the latter five years of the decade long Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme, supported by funders The National Lottery Community Fund (TNLCF), Lloyd’s Bank and Bank of Scotland.

Findings demonstrate that social enterprises supported by the School for Social Entrepreneurs have a 2-year survival rate of 81% (versus the UK SME average of 73%) and organisations supported by Match Trading grants saw a 41% uplift in income from trading.

Transforming Communities, Improving Lives

Cemal Ezel, CEO of Change Please, a member of Social Enterprise Scotland and Social Enterprise UK, thanks SSE for the support the programme gave him as a very early-stage social entrepreneur, “providing the seeds to grow my idea into a tangible business”. Change Please began in 2015 with initial support from SSE and is now a global organisation, with a 70% success rate in getting people back into work.

SSE pride themselves on equipping people to transform their communities and improve the lives of others. Through a comprehensive and highly practical programme of courses, funding and mentoring, SSE supports people, for up to a year, to start up or scale projects that make a positive difference.

SSE Fellow Veronica Gordon, founder and CEO of Our Version Media CIC, highlights the positive role that Match Trading plays as a new way of grant making that is a feature of the Programme. Veronica says “this way of grant making got me thinking like a business person; it pushed and challenged me and made me proactive. This turned into new clients, new services, and new opportunities to increase our impact. It ensured Our Version Media CIC was resilient.”

Our Version Media CIC seeks to amplify black and marginalised voices by equipping individuals, communities and organisations with media skills to tell their own, authentic stories A beneficiary of their service commented, “All of this has empowered me so that I can share the stories of my community, my life and my family. But overall, I just love it. I really feel like I have a new skill.”

Partnership working for greater community impact

The Social Entrepreneurs Programme has been successful thanks to the collaborative and partnership working involved. The programme will continue support social entrepreneurs across Scotland and invites individuals who are passionate about developing or scaling up a positive impact social business to get in touch.

Tracey Muirhead, CEO of the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) in Scotland, recounts that “in 2012, building upon the past decade’s work in Fife region, we incorporated SSE Scotland to support the whole of Scotland, thanks to support and investment from the Bank of Scotland. We have always felt fully backed by our investors, including The National Lottery Community Fund in Scotland and the Scottish Government. This was truly about partnerships. SSE are only the facilitators – really it is all about our students and what they achieve.”

Phil Chamberlain, The National Lottery Community Fund, England Director of Strategy, champions the work delivered by SSE over the past decade, saying “the Lottery believes in this programme, and we have done since 2012. It is exciting to see the difference made by the programme in this report, and the impact made to communities”. 

Visit the SSE website to find out how SSE can support you.

Read the full report by AKOU here