Start-up advice

Free business advice to help you start your social enterprise.

You want to start a business that helps people, your community, or the environment. You may have heard about social enterprise but you are not sure what it means or if your idea is a social enterprise. Great, you are in the right place!

Setting up a social enterprise may seem daunting, but our start-up support will help turn your idea into reality. Every day, our team of advisors work with entrepreneurs across Scotland to guide and encourage them in their start-up journey. This support is free to access thanks to Just Enterprise- a programme of support for new and established social enterprises.

What does the start-up support include?

The support we offer you will depend on where you are in your start-up journey, and the skills and experience you already have. In general, you can expect: 

  • A dedicated business advisor. You will work with one of our advisors to figure out the steps you need to take to get your social enterprise started. This may include understanding your target market or social issue, strengthening your business model, or guidance on legal structures.
  • First Steps sessions. We may invite you to attend small, group-based sessions to better understand social enterprise and if it is right for you. 
  • Signposting and connections. We know many organisations that can offer specialist support for your business idea, so we are perfectly placed to signpost you to other providers and funders.  
  • Webinars and workshops. We offer training on a wide variety of subjects relevant to start-up social entrepreneurs. You can read more about these in the Learning Calendar

How can start-up support help your business?

If you’ve never tapped into business support before, check out this video to hear from social entrepreneurs about their own experience of our start-up support through Just Enterprise:

Do I really need the support? 

Working with an advisor helps you develop the skills and knowledge you need to start your social enterprise. It also enables you to work with someone who understands your business and wants to see you succeed. Our advisors act as a sounding board, talk you through your challenges and can connect you with other sources of funding or support. And it is all free! 

If you are also thinking about applying for one of our grants, we find that applicants who work with our advisors through start-up support submit stronger applications, giving them a better chance of securing an award.

Every time something changes, or I am not sure, I can go back to Just Enterprise and Firstport and say “look I don’t know what I am doing, can you help me?” Just having that conversation with somebody to help you think through your thoughts is really helpful.

Evie Strange Ullapool Unpacked CIC 

How do I sign up?

Our start-up advice is part of the Just Enterprise programme, which is funded by the Scottish Government. Just Enterprise provides free support to new and established social enterprises. The programme is delivered by a group of organisations, and Firstport looks after the start-up support. 

If you want to work with one of our advisors, complete a short registration form on the Just Enterprise website. Once you’ve done this, we will contact you promptly to get your support started. 

Click here to complete the registration form.