What is the funding for?
A Start It award is designed to help new social entrepreneurs pay for start-up costs. These costs can vary, but typical examples include:
- Legal fees for incorporation and/or registration as a charity or Community Interest Company
- Rent (if premises have been identified)
- Website, branding, logo design and marketing materials
- Insurance and accountancy services
For more information on eligible and ineligible costs, please see the guidance.
Who can apply?
Individuals who meet the eligibility criteria set out below, and who have an idea for a social enterprise but need some funding to get it up and running.
Applications must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- The applicant is aged 16 or over.
- The applicant is a permanent resident of Scotland.
- The enterprise operates primarily for the benefit of people or communities within Scotland.
- The enterprise and its activities do not involve political campaigning or the advancement of religion.
- The enterprise is an independent organisation and not the project or subsidiary of an existing body.
- The enterprise aims to provide direct social impact to individuals, communities and/or the environment.
- The enterprise is in the early stages of development – i.e. the ‘idea’ or ‘start-up’ phase – and has not begun trading on a regular basis.
- The idea does not form part of the applicant’s current employment.
- If the enterprise requires premises to start trading, the applicant must have identified a property and be able to confirm an agreement in principle.
Where do I apply?
You can apply to this fund here: Apply Now
How we assess your application
Once we receive your application, one of the Awards Team will contact you within 2-4 weeks to undertake an assessment. This is an informal meeting via phone or Zoom which will allow you the opportunity to tell us more about your idea, your motivation, and your plans.
After the assessment, your idea goes to an independent decision-making panel. You should receive a decision within 12-14 weeks of application.
Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria can benefit from a Start It award and we assess each application on its individual merits. Due to levels of demand, we can only support people who have not been previously awarded.
You can get free business advice for your social enterprise idea by accessing our start-up support through Just Enterprise. You can get advice before applying for one of our funding programmes, or at any stage after you have made an application. 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.
Find out more about the start-up support we offer