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Big Issue Invest Scotland gives social enterprises £1m Power Up

Leith and Edinburgh North MSP Ben Macpherson helps to launch The Big Issue Scottish investment arm's new programme that will transform 20 social ventures with up to £50k funding

We all know social businesses can plot a way out of the financial morass. The Scottish Government is showing Westminster the way, pledging to make its nation the social enterprise capital of the world.

Now Big Issue Invest Scotland is giving a £1 million boost to help the social revolution fightback!

The Big Issue’s Scottish investment arm’s new Power Up programme, launched last week with a boxing workout at not-for-profit gym Projekt 42 in Leith, is backed by the Scottish Government, Edinburgh University, Aberdeen Standard Investments and legal partner Brodies LLP.

This initiative is going to make a really meaningful and positive impact across so many communities in Scotland

Early stage social ventures can apply for up to £50,000 loan funding. The 20 successful applicants will also receive mentoring and business development support.

At the launch MSP for Edinburgh Northern & Leith Ben Macpherson said: “This initiative is going to make a really meaningful and positive impact across so many communities in Scotland, including in Leith, and I’m very pleased to support it.”

Ben Macpherson MSP has thrown his weight behind the Power Up programme

John Montague, managing director of group operations at The Big Issue Invest, added: “A lot of fantastic early-stage social ventures across Scotland struggle to access small to medium-sized loans, so we are so pleased to be able to support them with the investment and expertise that they need to make an even greater difference within their communities.”

UK-wide The Big Issue’s investment arm Big Issue Invest has invested £30 million in more than 300 social ventures since 2005.


If you pay for the magazine you should always take it. Vendors are working for a hand up, not a handout.

The programme has been designed for early-stage social ventures, regardless of company structure — social enterprises, charities, and private enterprises are all welcome, with social value creation being the key criterion. The expectation is that many applicants will be accessing finance for the first time.

Projekt 42 are the latest to receive funding and one of the first to benefit from the new Power Up programme north of the border.

Big Issue Invest's John Montague launched the scheme on Friday alongside Ben Macpherson MSP and Aberdeen Standard Investment's Amanda Young and Craig MacDonald

The social enterprise look to blend a focus on physical health with mental health and run the UK’s only Physical Active Counselling course to that end.

The injection of funding and mentoring from Power Up is helping the company grow from their single unit in Leith to a planned franchise spreading to other areas of the UK with the first step coming in January 2018 when they open a new half-acre wellness centre nearby.

Speaking at Friday’s event, Projekt 42 founder Sara Hawkins said: “Power Up is brilliant for us for a few different reasons. It has helped us to bring people together to get industry to look at social enterprises differently.

“It has also let us scale up quicker than we would have been able to without that support and overall that has given us that bit of oomph we need to succeed.”

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