Supporting social enterprises

A new £17 million fund launches. 

Schemes to create jobs and protect the environment are set to benefit from a new fund to help social enterprises which will be backed by £17 million of investment. 

The money from the Scottish Social Growth Fund will enable social enterprises, charities and voluntary groups to deliver community projects while contributing to the wider economy.

Organisations will be able to access affordable and flexible loans of between £100,000 and £1.7 million from the new fund.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell announced the funding while visiting Out of the Blue, a social enterprise based in Leith, which today celebrates its 25th anniversary. Ms Campbell said:

“Social enterprises play an important role in our economy and have a positive impact in our communities. They contribute £2 billion to the economy every year and employ more than 80,000 people and that’s why we are taking action to grow this sector.

“I am delighted to launch this new £17 million fund to stimulate further growth and support in this area to enable organisations to access the funds they need to expand and thrive. The Scottish Social Growth Fund is a key part of delivering our ten-year Social Enterprise Strategy, promoting an entrepreneurial mindset across Scotland’s third sector to tackle some of the toughest challenges faced by our communities.”

Thomas Gillan, Deputy Chief Executive at Social Investment Scotland, said:

“Since 2008, the Scottish Government’s partnership with Social Investment Scotland has helped to unlock around £30 million of investment, providing 90 third sector organisations with the investment needed to scale and grow.

“We’re delighted to add the University of Edinburgh as an new investor. By increasing the amount of social investment capital available to Scotland’s booming social enterprise sector, we can connect more capital with communities and contribute to inclusive growth for Scotland.”


The Scottish Government has invested £8 million into the fund, with an additional £1 million from the University of Edinburgh and a commitment of £8 million, pending finalisation of the necessary legal arrangements, from Big Society Capital, a UK-wide social investment company.

The Scottish Social Growth Fund will be open to new applications and it will provide affordable and flexible loans of between £100,000 and £1.7 million to charities and social enterprises.  The fund will be delivered by Social Investment Scotland, Scotland’s largest not-for-profit providers of loans to the third sector.

Out of the Blue now accommodates over 200 artists and SMEs in its flexible studio and work space, including designers, film companies, textile workers, printmakers and musicians.


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