Ready to RISE

A programme for women who want to explore social entrepreneurship to earn a living, create their ideal workplace and make a positive impact.

Who's it for?

Women who want to explore social entrepreneurship to earn a living.

What do I get?

A programme of support and training designed for women returning to work or changing careers.

Where do I apply?

Applications have now closed.

Ready to RISE (Readiness & Incubation for Social Enterprise) is a new programme that aims to help women across Scotland learn about social enterprise and discover their potential to use entrepreneurship to make a living, work flexibly and positively impact their communities.  

Between November 2023 and March 2024, Ready to RISE will work with women to increase their knowledge, confidence and networks, identify their existing skills and ideal work/life blend, generate business ideas with a social or environmental impact, and access practical and financial support to turn those ideas into businesses.  

The programme is a joint project by the Challenges Group and Firstport. It is funded by the Scottish Government’s Pathways Pre-Start Fund, which aims to help more people from underrepresented groups to become entrepreneurs.  

Is Ready to RISE for me?  

Ready to RISE is for you if you want to return to work after a career break or want a career change to design your ideal workplace – one that allows you to make a living, work flexibly and use your skills for good.  

You may have not considered starting a social enterprise – or any business – before, and that’s OK. You do not need a business idea to participate in Ready to RISE. Whatever your background or experience, you will already have skills that could help you start and run a business.  

 As long as you are open to learning about social entrepreneurship and how it could help you design your ideal workplace, we will help you work out the rest.  

How does it work?  

The programme of support will run between February and March 2024, with access to:  

  • Sessions covering areas such as confidence building, business ideas generation, auditing your skills, and more 
  • A peer group of supportive women  
  • One-to-one support from a specialist start-up Business Advisor or a Women’s Employability and Flexible Working Specialist  

By the end of the programme, you will be better equipped to decide what is right for you based on your goals and circumstances. If it is starting a social enterprise, we will connect you with the support you need to progress your idea.  

If pursuing an idea is not your best outcome, we will signpost you to other volunteering, employment, or further education opportunities.  

I’m curious: what do I do next?  

Applications are now closed.

If you were unable to join one of the information sessions, you can watch the recordings of the Social Entrepreneur Panel and Q&A sessions below. You can also read the Frequently Asked Questions document at the bottom of the page.

Social Entrepreneur Panel Event, 17 January 2024
Ready to Rise Q&A session, 24 January 2024

If after reading the information on this page you still have questions, please email womenreturners@thechallengesgroup.com

In the meantime, get inspired by other women already using social entrepreneurship to create flexible and fulfilling jobs that meet their needs by reading our case studies


  • Ready to Rise- FAQs for website


Success stories