Media Release: Edinburgh Social Enterprise Network and The Melting Pot making fast tracks to social enterprise enterprise success


TWELVE guest social entrepreneurs* from Edinburgh Social Enterprise’s (ESEN) city-wide network shared their expertise this week at The Melting Pot (TMP), with businesses who were successful in winning a place on the Social Innovation Incubation Award programme.

The Melting Pot is Scotland’s Centre for Social Innovation. Working to grow social enterprise businesses in the city, TMP has created an intense free ‘business incubation programme’ for 30 people – founders of socially innovative organisations.

The programme focuses on turning ideas to reality and the core ingredients of building a non-profit organisation, delivered through evening and weekend workshops and direct mentoring with entrepreneur and founder of TMP, Claire Carpenter.

Highlighting that mentoring, peer support and sharing knowledge is key to success TMP director, Claire Carpenter, said: “We want to ensure that these new and exciting businesses are ready to take on the challenge of creating social change organisations and being business savvy.

“We want to build skills and attitudes that will get them noticed, increase their impact and make them sustainable. So initially we place a lot of emphasis on getting the business model right and follow that up with training in slick presenting and impressive pitching skills.”

Claire added: “It’s not just start-ups we support on SIIA. We have selected seven ‘under the radar’ emerging social businesses to go on our Accelerator programme: Ayrshire Community Media, Equal Scotland, Remade in Edinburgh, Street Fit Scotland, The Himalayan Centre for Arts and Culture, The Reward Foundation and The Tinderbox Project.

Both programmes will come together with some key stakeholders, and go on a ‘Learning Journey’ in and around Edinburgh, organised by ESEN.

Commenting on the programme, Emma Galloway, network co-ordinator, ESEN, said: “We are delighted to be working in tandem with The Melting Pot in offering expertise and advice from some of our established city social enterprises.

“It is all about encouragement as young businesses get underway. It also helps to find out the route and risk factors that others have taken to grow and hope the study day will give them that extra boost to make it work for them too.”

Commenting on the event itself, Mhairi Reid, policy and learning adviser from the Big Lottery Fund, said: “It’s been a priceless experience meeting people – and what you can get from a face-to-face meeting is so much more valuable. I really appreciate the chance to take a day out from the office to connect with people in this way.”

Tom Craig, policy executive from the Scottish Government, added: “It’s encouraging to see the breadth of enterprise and innovations, and their energy, drive and spirit. These social entrepreneurs amply demonstrate the ‘CanDo’ attitude which is why we are keen to encourage place based entrepreneurship.”

The SIIA programme, which has been running since 2012, is taking notes of interest for those wishing to start in September 2016.


For Edinburgh Social Enterprise Network information contact:
Emma Galloway/ E:
Mobile: 07940 512110

For The Melting Pot contact:
Claire Carpenter / E:
Mobile: 07719 734274

For further press information contact:
Fiona Stewart/Interwoven PR/E:
Mobile: 07940 560453

Notes to editors:

The Social Innovation Incubation Awards are open to people with the following business characteristics:

  • A person wanting to develop a socially innovative business idea/service/product – something that will make the world a better place.
  • A person creating a new non-profit distributing organisation or has already created one.
  • At the start-up or emerging stage (maximum of 3 years from date of company registration).
  • Fully committed to participating in the Programme – to develop, test, refine and deliver your idea for social change.
  • Wanting to benefit fully from all aspects of the Programme – to learn and to share your learning and experience with your peers, and are not just looking for free workspace!
  • Willing to participate in evaluation processes and profiling opportunities.

SIIA is run by The Melting Pot, Scotland’s Centre for Social Innovation.

Edinburgh Social Enterprise Network (ESEN) is the membership network for social enterprises in Edinburgh. Established in 2005, the network now has 105 members and a further 100 social enterprises on its books. ESEN provides a range of services to social enterprises including: one-to-one support, networking, information and signposting, promotion and representation. It is a partner in Edinburgh’s Third Sector Interface.

‘Buy the Good Stuff’ is a call to action to the general public to consider how they shop around the city and can really make a difference by purchasing from social enterprises. Over 200 social enterprises are trading in Edinburgh, from cafes and retail, to creative industries and leisure generating income and reinvesting their profits into the community for social or environmental benefits.

What is social enterprise? Social enterprise is a way of doing business that benefits the community, society or the environment. Social enterprises must reinvest all of their profits into their social or environmental aims and many also achieve their aims through the way that they run their business, for example by employing people who might otherwise find it difficult to find a job. Edinburgh Social Enterprise Network uses the criteria for social enterprise set out in the Social Enterprise Code (

The most common legal models for social enterprises are: Companies Ltd by Guarantee, Companies Ltd by Guarantee with Charitable Status, Charities and Community Interest Companies (CICs).

* Edinburgh Social Enterprise Network – 12 participating / host organisations on the SIIA Learning Journey 2016

Freedom Unlimited Enterprises – is a new start social enterprise with dynamic plans to combine creativity, recycling and skills development for unemployed young people who are offenders or who are involved in criminal activities. The organisation will work with artists and partners in the criminal justice system to deliver employment opportunities for these at-risk young people. They are passionate about creating employment opportunities for ex-offenders and committed to changing lives and creating futures.

Social Bite – is a sandwich shop with a difference. They prepare delicious handmade food every day, using fresh, healthy and local produce. The menu is created by Michelin star chef Mike Mathieson, and is competitively priced, offering outstanding value for money. But the main difference between Social Bite and the rest is that they are a ‘Social Business’. This means that (every single penny) of their profits are given to good causes and one in four of the team are formerly homeless people. They also feed the local homeless community through our ‘Suspended Coffee and Food’ initiative.

Fathers Network Scotland – is a young, dynamic and respected charity with a passion for dads – because the family and society as a whole benefit when fathers are involved in the life of their children. Their mission is to drive positive cultural change by inspiring organisations, communities and individuals to engage, support and empower men to be the fathers they want to be.

ACTive INquiry – provides exciting new theatre and arts projects with and for anyone wanting to use the arts as a catalyst for active involvement in society. ACTive INquiry are committed to creating exciting new theatre and arts projects with and for communities. The organisation is particularly interested in the work of Augusto Boal and the Theatre of the Oppressed.

Positive Prison? Positive Futures – is a community of interest which draws upon the shared lived experiences of people who are or have been subject to punishment. Their mission is: to improve the effectiveness of Scotland’s criminal justice system so as to reduce the harms caused by crime and to support the reintegration of those who are or have been subject to punishment.

Just Festival – is one of Edinburgh’s most exciting and diverse festivals. It features over 300 activities across 19 venues each August. With top-quality speakers, conversations, performances, film, food, exhibitions, family activities, workshops, art, culture and more. The Festival particularly showcases issues around social justice and inequality.

The Bike Station – is a community project that accepts donated bikes from members of the public and recycles them for use by priority groups of people such as the long term unemployed, those who have been homeless and those with mental health problems. A proportion of renovated bikes are sold to raise funds. The Bike Station also runs training sessions for volunteers and members of the public and is open to the public for the hire of work stands and tools for people wishing to work on their own bikes.

Cyrenians, The Good Food Programme – is part of Cyrenians Social Enterprise Department and has been operating since March 2000. The project delivers a range of food and health services, providing a refreshing approach and positive opportunities for individuals taking their first steps back as contributing members of our communities.

Grassmarket Community Project – supports people through transitions in their lives and re-connects disengaged people through their successful wood workshop GrOW, creating bespoke pieces of furniture from recycled wood, alongside a purpose-designed conference and event space and café and catering service.

Breadshare – are a non-profit-distributing bakery company based in Portobello, Edinburgh. Their mission is to serve and involve the community by making excellent, nutritious bread using organic ingredients and distinctive local products, helping to create a more sustainable and health-enhancing food system. Their aim is to make real bread more accessible and to tell people about why this type of bread is better.

Take One Action – since 2008, Take One Action Film Festivals have engaged tens of thousands of people with hundreds of world-class films, showcasing inspiring stories that comment on issues of global concern. Their events bring together communities, filmmakers, politicians, businesses, academics and artists – united by the simple desire to connect around common stories and shape their unfolding for the greater good.

Sikh Sanjog – provides Sikh and other minority women with access to information, employment training advocacy, support and a wide variety of other services. Sikh Sanjog also operates a community café (Punjabi Junction) and outside catering from Leith Walk. They work in partnership with other voluntary and statutory organisations as an effective means of enabling Sikh, and other ethnically and culturally diverse women and their families, to access integrated services and employment.

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