Fifteen social enterprise start-ups have been awarded a share of £175,000 in Firstport’s latest round of funding.

October 23, 2019

Fifteen social entrepreneurs have secured a share of £175,000 from social enterprise start-up agency Firstport.


Start It and Build It awards are part of the Scottish Government’s Social Entrepreneurs Fund. Start It awards support social entrepreneurs who are ready to get their ideas off the ground and running. Build It awards support social entrepreneurs, who have proven their business concept and social impact, to commit to their business full time by covering living costs for a year. 

Andrew Douglas, secured £25,000 through the Build It award to develop his idea Scotland All-Strong. Scotland All-Strong is a not-for-profit social enterprise working in the heart of Perth to provide and promote fitness, strength, guided relaxation and peer support for mental health benefits.
Going forward they plan to develop and replicate this model, taking their unique set-up, approach, and services to areas across Scotland to help those in most need, providing direct and highly impactful services.

Andrew Douglas, the founder of Scotland All-Strong, said:

Scotland All-Strong's goal is to inspire lasting change through sound training, education and motivation, allowing participants to ultimately take control of their own health and wellness with confidence. Our tailor-made studio is a comfortable first step into or back into exercise, a place of peer support and social interaction, and great results!

The group of social entrepreneurs also includes Gemma Hamilton, who received £5,000 through the Start It award, to get her social enterprise Glasgow Sling Library up and running. By providing women with advice and support to use slings and carriers, Glasgow Sling Library aims to increase bread feeding rates in the East End. The social enterprise works directly with women from socio-economically deprived communities, who find baby wearing consultancy inaccessible.

Gemma, founder of The Glasgow Sling library, said:

The strong bonds and resilience that babywearing fosters can have the most impact in socio-economically deprived communities where disengagement is rife. Evidence suggests service users from socio-economically deprived backgrounds often find the more affluent locations where support is currently offered intimidating, or simply too far to travel.

We hope to alleviate this issue by offering much needed services in local communities, in family and community centres that are already frequented by those who stand to benefit the most, but don't have the finances to access the support they need.

Josiah Lockhart, Chief Exec of Firstport said:

These latest rounds of funding have supported some exciting and innovative social entrepreneurs in their efforts to improve their local communities. Scotland All-Strong and The Glasgow Sling Library are particularly exciting due to the way that they have a real social impact on a local level, but speak to a wider national conversation around mental health and parent-child connection, respectively.


Details of the award winners, by area:

Build It

East Dunbartonshire:

  • Sophie L Lejeune received £25,000 to build her social enterprise Society Zero CIC based in East Dunbartonshire

Perth and Kinross:

  • Andrew Douglas received £25,000 to help progress his social enterprise Scotland All-Strong, based in Perth and Kinross


  • Gemma Hendry received £25,000 for her social enterprise Able2Adventure based in Aviemore (Highlands)

Argyll and Bute:

  • Rebecca Blanco received £25,000 for her social enterprise Cowal and Bute Play Therapy based in Argyll and Bute


  • Edward McCardy received £25,000 for his social enterprise Corylus Horticulture CIC based in Midlothian (Edinburgh)

Start It


  • Gemma Hamilton received £5,000 for her social enterprise Glasgow Sling Library
  • Jacqueline McKie was awarded £5,000 for her social enterprise Difference By Design
  • Frank Duffy secured £5,000 for his social enterprise Code Division
  • Patricia Papworth was awarded £5,000 for her Social Enterprise Stitch the Gap

Perth and Kinross:

  • Rosemary Hunter received £5,000 for her social enterprise Weigh Ahead
  • Helen Obrien was successful in securing £5,000 for her social enterprise Creative Pipeline

East Renfrewshire:

  • Gerry Thorogood secured £5,000 for her social enterprise 12 Guitars


  • Rebecca Black received £5,000 for her social enterprise Therapy Train Stirling


  • Michelle Cameron received £5,000 for her social enterprise Banffshire Tourist Hub

East Ayrshire:

  • Gary Train received £5,000 for his social enterprise Cill Mhearnaig Early Learning and Childcare CIC