Case Studies

Just Enterprise – Capoeira 4 Scotland

We spoke with M Fiaz Tariq and Andrew Cowan about their journey to becoming a social enterprise with the support of Just Enterprise and Firstport.

What does your social enterprise focus on?

We teach the Afro-Brazilian art form Capoeira, using it to positively impact people’s lives, both for individuals and communities. We aim to make Capoeira accessible to all.

Capoeira combines physical movement, interaction and acrobatics with traditional music and instruments in a ‘roda’ group setting (meaning ‘circle’ in Brazilian Portuguese). It is a fantastic way for people to develop and benefit their health, wellbeing and connections with others. UNESCO has even given Capoeira official heritage status.  

From our experience, we know Capoeira is something people in Scotland enjoy, and that it has the potential to make a difference to people’s lives, as it has in ours!

What was your motivation for setting up your social enterprise?

As a team, we have lots of teaching and performance experience of Capoeira, including supporting local communities. After looking more deeply into social and public health inequalities affecting people in Scotland, and more specifically Glasgow, and then seeing examples of how Capoeira has been used in other places to help others, we knew we wanted to use it to make a difference.

This includes offering free and discounted classes to individuals and families living on low incomes and others facing social and financial barriers such as refugees and asylum seekers. We want to give back to the people of Scotland using the art that has given us so much.

When and what start-up support did you receive from us?

We started accessing Just Enterprise start-up support in 2022. Our business advisor, Brian, has given us invaluable business support, preparing us for setting up and running as a social enterprise, and has been a great sounding board for questions and ideas throughout the process. We were particularly interested in understanding what makes a social enterprise different from other legal entities and how operating a social enterprise would be different from a regular business.

We also found the webinars on governance, legal incorporation, board membership and finance particularly helpful.

The start-up support also helped us prepare for applying for Start It funding, which we secured in November of last year.

How did the start-up and funding support we provided help you to become an established social enterprise?

With the advice and support we received through Just Enterprise, we felt more confident in running as a social enterprise. The Start It funding helped us to hire a studio and buy essential equipment for our classes and events. The support from Firstport has really broadened what we can offer to the community.

Do you have any advice for someone considering reaching out for start-up support through Just Enterprise?

Definitely ask your advisor lots of questions, especially if you’re not sure about something! That’s what your business advisor is there for. Sometimes just talking through an issue can be really helpful. Even if they can’t directly answer your question, your advisor can signpost you to other organisations for further help.

What is next on the horizon for Capoeira 4 Scotland?

We want to continue to widen our social impact by reaching more people in Glasgow and beyond. We’re working hard and looking at collaborations with local community groups and organisations to expand our classes and to develop our projects and workshops. In our studio we are also looking to work with other artists and teachers, both for collaborations and by offering our studio as a space for other social enterprises to run their own classes.

This summer, we achieved a big milestone by holding our first ‘Batizado’ (Capoeira grading ceremony). This was our first major event in our new space, with the grading ceremony also being held as a free show for the local community. Our participants and audience had a great time, we received such positive feedback and look forward to holding our next programme of events in the future.

Find out more about Capoeira 4 Scotland on their website and by following them on Instagram and Facebook.