Social Innovation Competition

Annual competition awarding three £5,000 prizes to ground-breaking ideas that tackle Scotland’s most pressing social and environmental issues.

Who's it for?

Individuals that have an innovative idea that tackles social or environmental issues.

What do I get?

There are three £5,000 awards plus tailored business support.

Where do I apply?

This competition is now closed.

What is the Funding for?

Each year we give out three £5,000 awards to the most innovative ideas addressing the theme of the year.  One of the awards goes to a Young Social Innovator to celebrate the work, imagination, and creativity of individuals aged 16-30.

The funding is to help you get the idea off the ground or develop it. The kinds of costs we can cover are quite wide-ranging. However, there are a few restrictions which can be found in the guidance document at the bottom of this page.

Who can apply? 

You can apply if you have an innovative idea linked to the theme of the year. You must also meet our eligibility criteria, which can be found at the bottom of this page.

How we assess your application 

Following the application deadline, we assess all the applications against the eligibility criteria. The strongest applications go forward to a panel, which is made up of experts in the theme and/or previous competition winners. 

The panel selects the three winning entries.  All applicants will hear back as to whether they have been successful or not. Any unsuccessful applicants will receive written feedback. 

The successful applicants are announced at an Awards Ceremony.

This year’s theme: The Great Outdoors

This year’s social Innovation Competition celebrates the Great Outdoors. For many, the 2020 lockdown has strengthened our appreciation for being able to get outside when possible. We wanted to mark this significance by supporting 3 of the most innovative, outdoor focussed enterprise ideas!

New, and emerging social innovators will be supported to develop innovative ideas that:

  • encourage everyone to get out and about and enjoy the great outdoors in a responsible way
  • seek to benefit the environment, for example: through combatting climate change, promoting more environmentally sustainable lifestyles or tackling environmental damage
  • run activities or services in the great outdoors that specifically benefit vulnerable individuals and communities

Funding priorities:

To be eligible, all applications must demonstrate a commitment to environmental sustainability.

Anyone with an innovative idea linked to the theme above can apply and we assess each application on its merits.

Check out our Success Stories section and read about previous competition winners.  

Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible for this fund you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Aged 16 or over
  • A permanently resident in Scotland
  • Most of the people who will benefit from your idea are resident in Scotland
  • The activities of your venture do not directly involve political campaigning or the advancement of religion
  • Your innovation is in the early stages of development – i.e. it is at the ‘idea’ or ‘start-up’ phase (up to 3 years) and has not begun trading on a regular basis (this does not include any occasional pilot activity undertaken as part of market research)
  • Your innovation aims to provide direct social benefit to individuals, communities and/or the environment
  • If you have received funding from Firstport before: You have completed the funding milestones (you can check this with your grant manager if you are unsure. Please note that priority will be given to new applicants).

Have a question? 

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions. If you can’t find the answer you are looking for then get in touch via our Contact Us page, by phone or email: info@firstport.org.uk. 


  • Video Pitch Guide - Social Innovation Competition

    Please read our Video Pitch Guide before submitting an application.

  • Social Innovation Competition Application Guidance

    Please consult this document before starting your application.

  • Social Innovation Competition Application Drafting document

    Please download and use this Word document to draft your answers before submitting your application online.


Success stories