Good ideas catalyst: take the next step in business development


Claire Carpenter on how the Good Ideas Academy is planning to help established social enterprises take their next big step

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13th June 2017 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

Are you an established non-profit organisation based in Scotland with the seed of a great idea that needs time and focus to make it a reality? Would you like to develop your business, or a new product or service to increase your social impact? The Melting Pot is piloting a new, intensive and fully funded two-day workshop especially to catalyse you.

The Good Ideas Catalyst is an amazing opportunity to take your non-profit organisation to the next level. One or two representatives from 12 organisations will be selected to attend the event taking place in central Edinburgh on 4 and 5 September 2017. An intensive two-day facilitated process will include co-coaching support and a follow up session on 4 December. Submit your application to the programme before the deadline on 10 July.

Claire Carpenter

Claire Carpenter

The Melting Pot, Scotland’s Centre for Social Innovation, has been running a specialist social innovation incubation programme for five years. This has been aimed at start-ups and to date over 60 new organisations have been created. But now we know that existing social enterprises also need support that can help them to develop and grow. 

We realised we're at a point in the evolution of social innovation in Scotland that we need to start catalysing and serving existing social businesses, helping them reach the next level. The last 10 years has seen social enterprise take off in big way and it’s a trend that’s set to continue. Maturing and established organisations are also looking for ways to increase their scope and grow. We want to make sure they succeed in that by applying known techniques for ideation and design thinking to shape their business model which delivers inclusive growth.

In fact, 42% of Scotland’s social enterprises have been established in the last ten years, with about 250 new social enterprises being started each year. The sector is contributing about £1.68 billion to the Scottish economy. Yet its value is in far more than GDP. Each and every social enterprise is directed toward solving a social or environmental problem and there are over 112,000 employees within those organisations.

Blazing Saddles an all-ability cycling project managed and administered by FABB Scotland (Facilitating Access Breaking Barriers). FABB works with partners to provide disabled children and young people access to leisure and recreational facilities of their choice, and this year celebrates its 60th anniversary. However, in recent years new opportunities have been provided by different approaches to social enterprise, with a variety of legal frameworks available to enterprises, FABB now wants to explore those possibilities.

It is currently developing community hubs at 14 locations across Scotland that provide opportunities for disabled people to go cycling with their friends and families. It is now looking at how it should take its success and make the most of it. This might mean constituting Blazing Saddles as a social enterprise of its own, which could open up further avenues of investment. It is also looking at how it can use that model across other activities, and maximise the recreational opportunities available to disabled people across Scotland and beyond. 

The Good Ideas Catalyst could give Blazing Saddles and FABB the forum and support to explore those possibilities.

The Scottish Government is financing the catalyst programme as an intervention aimed to help deliver its recently launched ten-year strategy for social enterprise. It sets out an ambitious commitment to the sector and a recognition of its vital importance in Scotland’s future.

There has never been a better time to explore the ambitions and catalyse the change you want in your third sector organisation. As well as co-coaching, you will be able to draw on my experience as founder of The Melting Pot and the experience of Jane Bruce of Social Bite, Edinburgh. Together we have a wealth of experience developing social enterprises and achieving success in the third sector.

If you’re in a senior role within an established organisation, visit the Good Ideas Catalyst webpage and send in an appplication. Applications will close at midnight of Monday 10 July and applicants will be notified by Friday 14 June if they have secured a place.

Claire Carpenter is founder and managing director of the Melting Pot in Edinburgh.