Why are you not using a traditional grant for Boost It?
Having delivered the Social Entrepreneurs Fund for 10 years, we know that:
- £5K is sometimes not enough to get a social enterprise idea off the ground. This is particularly true for ideas operating in certain types of sectors due to higher capital or technological costs.
- There is often a funding gap after our Build It Awards – social entrepreneurs have realised their ideas have potential and have decided to turn them into their full-time jobs, but they are still far from achieving sustained trading. In addition, many times social entrepreneurs do not feel ready, or confident enough, to access social investment.
- The Social Entrepreneurs Fund is already a highly competitive programme, so we need to find innovative ways to make the funds go further.
- Our experience is mirrored by the findings of the Social Enterprise Census 2019 where we still see a hesitant attitude towards social investment and earned income from trading remains at modest levels.
Boost It is also great news for future social enterprises! It maximises the long-term impact of the fund as the repayments go towards supporting even more great ideas to become sustainable.
Is it for me?
Boost It is the right fund for you if you:
- Have a social enterprise idea and want to get it off the ground, but need an injection of capital to get started. You must have a legal structure already in place and a business bank account.
- Have been trading for up to three years but need further support to increase your trading activity and become sustainable. You must have a strong business model and have identified (or already undertaking) income generating activities.
What can I use the funding for?
The funding can be put towards:
- Covering costs that allow you to kick-start your business if you need a high injection of cash. For example: purchasing equipment or digital infrastructure.
- Consolidate your trading activities if you are already up and running. For example: Buying stock of your product or staff wages.
I have received a Firstport Start It and/or Build It award before, can I still apply?
Yes, as long as you have already received your second instalment and are in the process of or already spent it, you are able to apply for Boost It.
General Funding Questions
My enterprise will be trading across the whole of the UK. Is this eligible?
There are no geographical restrictions on trading. However, as the Social Entrepreneurs Fund and LaunchMe are funded by the Scottish Government, the majority of the social impact must be delivered in Scotland. This means that the majority of people who will benefit from the good work of the enterprise must live in Scotland.
I’ve already set up as a sole trader/private company limited by shares. Am I ineligible for funding?
Firstport funds individuals as opposed to organisations, so you can still apply whether or not you have set up a legal entity for your project, and regardless of the type of entity you have chosen. However, at assessment, we will want to know why you have chosen to go down a particular route, and whether you are committed to sticking with it.
We always encourage applicants to base their choice of legal structure on what is best for the business, as opposed to being influenced by eligibility criteria for any particular funding stream – via Firstport or any other source. Please contact us if you would like further advice on this subject.