Social entrepreneur support is launched

Social entrepreneurs event at the Enterprise Centre from Lloyds and SSE
Social entrepreneurs event at the Enterprise Centre from Lloyds and SSE

New social entrepreneurs have until March 21 to get involved in a mentoring scheme and thousands of pounds in grants.

Applications are open for a funding scheme supported by Lloyds Banking Group, in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs.

The offer follows an launch day from LBG and SSE held at the Blackpool Enterprise Centre

There, 25 budding entrepreneurs learnt about social enterprise opportunities on the day, which was organised by Andy Charles, who is the town’s third business connector having been seconded from Lloyds Banking Group in July 2015, to the charity Business in the Community.

Andy, who had been a mentor for the last two years on the programme, spotted an opportunity to bring LGB and SSE together with his home town of Blackpool, to help local Social Enterprises apply to the programme, for their own individual development and to help the economic growth and regeneration of Blackpool.

The scheme offers prospective applicants the chance to apply for ‘Start Up’ and ‘Scale Up’ courses.

Successful applicants will get a £4,000 grant if their social enterprise is at the ‘start up’ stage, or £15,000 for existing projects at the ‘scale up’ stage of development.

Also, those selected will have access to a series of 14 interactive learning modules and one-to-one support and guidance over a year from Lloyds Banking Group employees, who have volunteered their time to act as business mentors.

For details visitthe-sse.org, email applications@sse.org.uk or call 0207 089 9120.

Andy Charles’s mentee last year, Simon Rudd from Outrageous Ambition, attended the day. Simon had been through the start up and scale up programmes and delivered a talk about his experience with SSE.

Simon said: “I started my social enterprise with £50 in my wallet. I want to articulate the value the Lloyds programme places on you as an individual and that the support from SSE is amazing. There were times when I didn’t have money to pay the rent, but now I work with and support six Social Enterprises in the Hub and have a projected income of six figures, so we really have come a long way.”

Andy said: “Turnout on the day exceeded expectations and this is now the start of a relationship with SSE recruiting for the Lloyds Banking Group programme in Blackpool. There soon will hopefully be success stories of Blackpool social enterprises unlocking this money and training.”