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Social Innovation Challenge

Support provided by Firstport

What does this involve?

This fund is currently closed. It is expected to re-open in summer 2024. 

The Social Innovation Challenge is a programme that funds and supports innovators in Scotland to help them develop social enterprise solutions for some of the most pressing challenges of our time. 

The challenge has a different theme each year. The fund will provide up to £50,000 to support the development of a new social enterprise solution related to the theme. It will also provide tailored support to help you launch and implement the solution.

Am I eligible?

The funding is available for:

  • registered social enterprises
  • individuals aged over 16
  • unincorporated groups with a lead applicant who is over 16 and is a permanent resident of Scotland, or who has leave to remain or a visa that is valid for at least 24 months after the date they receive their award

Your enterprise is eligible if:

  • its activities do not involve political campaigning or the promotion of religion
  • it provides direct social benefit to individuals, communities or the environment

Only incorporated social enterprises in Scotland can receive the grants. If an enterprise that is not yet incorporated wins, Firstport will support them through the incorporation process before the award is paid.

Applications are encouraged from collaborations between different organisations.

If you've previously won or applied for another Firstport award, you can still apply to this challenge as long as you have not already received an award through this challenge. The project featured in your application must be new and innovative. Priority will be given to new applicants.

What does this cost?

It is free to apply for this service.

Who is this for?

Established social enterprises, unincorporated groups or community associations, and individuals with an idea for a new project in Scotland.

How long does this take?

The Social Innovation Challenge is open for applications for 8 to 12 weeks every year. 

Once applications close, there's a shortlisting and assessment process that takes 6 to 8 weeks. Then the winner is selected.

Important information

This fund is currently closed. It is expected to re-open in summer 2024. 

The theme for 2023 was to seek an innovative solution to address the rising cost of living. There will be a new theme for 2024.

Any profits from the winning enterprise must be reinvested in the business and its social aims. You cannot transfer any assets or uncapped dividends from the organisation to private individuals or bodies. The applicant (or other individuals working for the enterprise) can take a fixed salary, but any profits generated on top of this must be reinvested.

Next steps

Visit the Firstport website for more information and to find out how to apply.

Support provided by Firstport