Social innovation competition offers cash prizes for bright new ideas

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Three social entrepreneurs with ideas that could change society will benefit from lucrative prizes

9th August 2017 by Georgina Harris 0 Comments

A competition to find three Scots with brilliant new social business ideas is offering £5,000 prizes and a package of business support.

The Social Innovation Competition is being run by social enterprise agency Firstport as part of the Scottish Government’s strategy for social enterprise. It will award three £5000 prizes and tailored business support to the applicants who suggest the most exciting and innovative ways of tackling social issues.

The competition was launched at Bottle of Ginger in Bridgeton, Glasgow. The social business was set up to change the local juice culture by challenging consumption habits and the way juice is made, from the way ingredients are sourced to how packaging is reused.

The focus of this year’s Social Innovation Competition is culture, heritage and tourism. Its aim is to celebrate individuals and start-up companies in Scotland that are thinking of imaginative ways to solve pressing social issues.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in the Scottish Parliament in November, including one young social innovator.

Bottle of Ginger

Social innovation competition offers cash prizes for bright new ideas

A community drinks company based in Bridgeton, Glasgow, Bottle of Ginger aims to change local juice culture by challenging consumption habits, redefining the product and rethinking the processes in soft drink manufacturing. Their ginger beer is inspired by the East End’s drinks manufacturing heritage, following a traditional recipe using only natural, fairtrade ingredients: filtered water, raw sugar, ginger & lemon. Profits from each bottle sold goes towards tackling food inequalities in the east end of Glasgow. Their aim is to set up a microbrewery and series of urban microfarms producing a range of local community drinks. 

Karen McGregor, chief executive of Firstport, said: “The Social Innovation Competition is an exciting opportunity for anyone developing a new product or service that is tackling a social issue to get recognition and support to move it forward. We hope people all over Scotland will realise and appreciate how social innovations have massively improved the way we live our lives, and think about how they can make a difference to their own communities”.

Angela Constance, cabinet secretary for communities, said: “I am delighted that the Scottish Government is supporting Firstport’s Social Innovation Competition. 

“There are already more than 5,000 social enterprises operating the length and breadth of Scotland, with more than 200 new start-ups every year. Competitions like this not only encourage the creation of more social enterprises, they contribute to making us a more innovative, fair and equal country.”  

Heritage, one of the competition’s themes, is extremely important to Bottle of Ginger. Their latest project is exploring the berry picking heritage of the East End community of Glasgow, where the drinks company is based.

Managing director Natalia Jejer elaborated: “We are revisiting this lost tradition with a group of local women – we've gone strawberry picking at East Yonderton Farm and made a big batch of strawberry cordial which we are selling locally. The profits from the sales will be reinvested into the community ensuring that this heritage is remembered. There's plenty of ideas in the pipeline including a local berry micro-farm and an annual berry picking trip for those who took part in the project.”

Firstport has been instrumental in helping Scottish social innovators get their ideas off the ground, including Bottle of Ginger and Uist Wool, a spinning mill and wool centre in the Hebrides.

The winners of the inaugural Social Innovation Competition last year were Studio Pop (also named Young Social Innovator), Pianos on Prescription and Gold Handmade Footwear.

Anyone interested in the competition can attend one of Firstport’s information sessions held around the country, including in Stirling, Inverness, Edinburgh and Glasgow, over the next two months. Potential applicants can also visit their website for more information.

Applications close on Monday 9th October. 

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