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Supporting Scottish social enterprises

– 2 min read

Nineteen early stage social ventures across Scotland have been supported by a programme set up by Big Issue Invest and co-funded by Places for People, Scottish Government, University of Edinburgh, Aberdeen Standard Investments, Experian and Brodies.

Big Issue Invest's Power Up programme, a lending scheme offering investment, support and mentorship to early stage social ventures across Scotland, launched its 2020 Impact Report revealing that 19 social business have been supported to date with a total of £870,000 of investment. Alongside Big Issue Invest, Places for People and the other programme partners delivered pro-bono support exceeding 3,500 hours. The estimated monetary value of time investment from Partner Organisations in kind (through mentorship, panels, pro-bono support given) equalled over £384,000.

Eradicating homelessness

The Blankfaces was one of the 19 social enterprises that successfully completed the three-month Power Up Scotland Programme in 2020. The Blankfaces is the UK’s first fashion label aimed at eradicating homelessness. Each design is inspired or created by a homeless person, which forms the backbone of its clothing range. A percentage of every product sold goes directly back to the homeless participant who has shared their story, and 100 per cent of the profits go towards ending homelessness.

Gerard McKenzie-Govan, Founder, The Blankfaces, said: “We have had a long-standing relationship with Big Issue Invest, working closely with their team and even sharing an office space in their Glasgow premises. Their help with Power Up Scotland pre-Covid and during lockdown meant we could keep growing as a business and even open our first shop at 427 Great Western Road! We’re excited for the future.”

Improve the lives of disadvantaged young people

Other social enterprises supported by the programme include Projekt42, the UK’s first wellness centre to combine personal training, group fitness, yoga and mental health services and Scran Academy which works to improve the lives of disadvantaged young people through a cooking school. Both ventures are based in Edinburgh.

Sara Hawkins, Director at Projekt42, said: “The Power Up Scotland programme provided a range of support from marketing through to legal advice, which has been invaluable to Projekt 42. Two years on, we are still benefitting from the support networks the programme enabled us to put into place.”

Creating social impact

Danyal Sattar, CEO of Big Issue Invest, said: “We have been inspired by these 19 organisations we have supported with both the investment and the business development expertise that they needed in order to make an even greater difference within their communities. It is our Partners and the valuable social enterprises who go on to create social impact.  We could not have done it without them.”

Marcus Hulme, Director of Social Value at Places for People, said: “The organisations have shown that with the right support the vital work that they do can have a significant impact on individuals and entire communities. It is important that businesses continue to support social enterprises in whatever way can so some of the biggest challenges in society can be tackled by those with the expertise and knowledge to take those important steps. We are really pleased to have been able to support Big Issue invest and the 19 organisations who have benefitted from investment, mentoring and support.”

View the 2020 Impact Report, or for more information, please visit

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