SEF has re-opened. Are you thinking about applying? Start here

Read on and find out more about the different funds you can apply to, which one is the right for you and what has changed post-COVID.

The Social Entrepreneurs Fund is back! This is great news if you are thinking about or already in the process of starting a social enterprise in Scotland. SEF has different funds depending on the stage you are at and how developed (or not) your idea is. Read on and find out more about the different funds you can apply to and which one is the right for you.

The Basics

So, what is SEF and who is it for? The Social Entrepreneurs Fund (or SEF) is a Scottish Government-funded programme that supports individuals in Scotland to test, start, and grow social enterprise ideas. It runs five different funds, three of which have now re-opened:

  • Pounds for Purpose (PfP) – This fund is for individuals aged 16-26 with an idea to create positive change in the world around them. £500 awards are available to put ideas into action. PfP is an ongoing programme with no deadlines and quick turnaround times.
  • Start It– SEF’s flagship programme, it supports individuals with a business idea and in need of support and funding to get it off the ground. Individuals can apply for up to £5,000 towards the start-up costs of their social enterprise idea. Start It is an ongoing programme with no deadlines, and the turnaround time is 12 weeks approx.
  • Build It– Build It is for individuals whose social enterprises are already up and running (for up to 2 years approx.) and can demonstrate a track record of both generating income and social impact. Build it covers living costs, allowing entrepreneurs to dedicate themselves fully to making their idea a success. There are four open calls every year and the next deadline is on Tuesday 29 September.

What makes SEF unique is that it is designed to support the individual(s) driving the idea forward before the idea is even legally registered. This means that SEF can provide early stage financial support, plus the advice needed to figure out the best business model for an idea, or the most suitable legal structure.

Wherever you are in your social enterprise journey, chances are SEF has a fund that can help. If you are still unsure about which fund is right for you, complete the quiz on our website and it will suggest the most appropriate fund and support available to you.

Ready to apply?

If you have been eagerly waiting for the day that SEF re-opens so you can make an application, it is worth noting that a few things may be different post-COVID:

  • Move to digital delivery. Who and what SEF can fund remain the same, however, there are some changes in our process due to the covid-19 pandemic. For example, all assessments and set up sessions will take place digitally or by phone, instead of face to face.
  • Business support from the start. SEF is more than just funding, it comes hand in hand with business support, delivered by Firstport’s team of business advisors. It is more important than ever to have a strong business model and plan in place, so we will strongly encourage and remind anyone thinking about applying to tap into the support available before/during/after making an application.
  • Inclusion and Diversity. Firstport is committed to making its application form and process accessible to anyone who wants to apply. We encourage applicants to let us know if they need an application form in a different format, if they have a preferred method of communication, or if there are any other barriers that may affect their ability to make an application.

You are now up to speed with all things SEF, so what are you waiting for? Firstport is ready to support you on your journey!

Click here to register for business support or here to access the application forms.