– This for That and Bad Idea showcase strength of social enterprise sector in Scotland and a commitment to technological innovation.
Two Glasgow based social enterprises using innovative digital solutions to solve Scotland’s social problems have been recognised as sector leaders, shortlisted in the 2014 RBS SE100 awards.
The RBS SE100 Index is an online listing of social ventures, ranked and scored according to their growth and social impact. Each year The RBS SE100 Awards recognise social enterprises on the Index who have demonstrated some of the best business practice within the sector, celebrating the growth, impact and ambition of social enterprises in the UK.
The Trailblazing Newcomer Award is given to a newcomer social enterprise that has made great strides to stand out from the crowd and become a leader amongst their peers, combining solid growth with a commitment to proving the positive impact of their business.
There are thought to be over 500 social enterprises in Scotland, and there are now 127 social enterprises on the SE100 Index, with an annual turnover of £139,903,545.
Tim West, Director of Matter and Co, and one of the award judges, said: “Both This for That and Bad Idea are an example of the growth in social enterprise in Scotland over the last year. They have both got off to a great start, and show great promise. They have both shown early steps to account for their impact, and both are using innovative technologies to drive change.”
Both organisations have been selected for Scotland’s LaunchMe social enterprise accelerator programme.
Glasgow’s successful social businesses
This for That, formerly known as Citizen Bank, is an innovative online platform that allows communities and public bodies to connect and work together to regenerate an area. The platform works for public, private or social sector bodies looking to improve their community involvement, as well as for proactive community members wanting to make a difference to the places that they live.
The platform allows groups and their members to communicate on a level playing field, creating jobs that need to be addressed, in return for a choice of rewards that are sourced form existing assets within an organisation. The organisation has been working with Napier University’s Centre for Interaction Design on software development, to ensure the web platform is informed from a grassroots level, by the people that use it.
Sarah Frood, Director of This for That, said: “’It could be a town centre has just been planted and there is a tonne of soil left – rather than this going to waste, a local organisation can offer it as a reward for tasks that help improve the community such as cleaning up graffiti.”
This for That has gone from strength to strength, now employing four permanent members of staff since launching as an independent company earlier this year.
Bad Idea is a personal development programme that takes the form of an enterprise competition, designed to encourage 16-24 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds into self-employment and entrepreneurship, helping to tackle the significant inequalities in Scottish society.
The programme has been successfully piloted twice and is now being delivered through a highly practical digital platform, designed to be accessible for anyone of secondary school age and beyond, and with Scottish government funding to scale up nationally.
Secondary school pupils submit ideas for innovative products and services online. The best ideas are shortlisted and the applicants are invited to attend 4 one-day workshops. During these workshops, the participants are mentored to develop their idea into a business model, learn how to communicate their idea and the soft-skills necessary to realise their goals and objectives.
Anthony Gerrard, founder and CEO of Bad Idea, said: “We have designed the programme to uncouple the idea that entrepreneurial flair can only be born out of academic achievement. We want to nurture and encourage young people with great entrepreneurial ideas, regardless of background, to get excited about entrepreneurship and understand that there is no such thing as a bad idea.”
Creating social change
The newcomer award is just as much about social impact as it is about growth. This for That has a social impact score of 7/10, a success that Sarah puts down to the platform’s unique design. She said: “We are developing the platform around the needs of the users. We understand the dynamics of community groups, how people interact, and we are taking that learning and using it to inform how we develop the platform.”
Commenting on the nomination, Sarah said: “Because we are new, the profiling opportunities that this gives us as an organisation is really exciting, especially in the context of trailblazing newcomer, as this is exactly how we aim to be perceived.”
She continued: “The RBS SE100 Index is useful for us to see how we compare to other social businesses. It allows us see what other organisations are out there, as well as innovations in the social enterprise sector.”
With a social impact score of 10/10, Bad Idea is further proof that size does not matter. Anthony said: “It’s incredibly important to us to evidence the impact that we are having on these youngsters. But almost more importantly, the measurement of our impact has allowed us to win funding and support from local authorities and government, who would otherwise have targeted larger service providers allowing us to grow and help more and more young people in Scotland.”
Commenting on the success of Bad Idea’s impact in Glasgow, Anthony said: “Our online platform makes the course extremely accessible. Our largest representative is from traditionally marginalised groups – young people, women and those from lower income families. We also have five youngsters from special needs schools. We’ve found a way to make entrepreneurship as inclusive as possible.”
Anthony said: “This nomination is a phenomenal example of success and gives us credibility going forward. It’s great to be a part of something that raises the profile and awareness of social enterprise in Scotland and the rest of the UK.”
Duncan Sloan, RBS Head of Community Banking, said: “ RBS has been supporting businesses set up to solve social problems for many years. The social enterprise sector is a valuable part of the UK economy and it is our aim to support its development. The SE100 Index and the trailblazing newcomer award allow us to recognise the successes of new ventures. Sometimes social enterprises need funding to get off the ground, other times they need access to the right networks to ensure they can evolve. The RBS SE100 index provides just that, and is a key initiative in our commitment to the success of the social enterprise sector.”
The 2014 winners will share a £30,000 prize fund that will be awarded at the RBS SE100 Annual Awards on the 24th November 2014, at the Good Deals social investment conference in London. The shortlist is divided into five categories: Sustainable Growth, Social Impact, Trailblazing Newcomer and the Resilience and Storyteller award.
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