Press Release

Ben Macpherson MSP launches Big Issue Invest Scotland's £1 million Power Up programme to support social ventures across Scotland

Investment programme is managed by Big Issue Invest, the social investment arm of The Big Issue
Programme is funded by project partners, including Aberdeen Standard Investments, University of Edinburgh and the Scottish Government and supported by Brodies LLP

Today, (3 November), Ben Macpherson MSP, Local MSP for Edinburgh Northern & Leith, launched Big Issue Invest Scotland’s Power Up programme, a lending scheme which will offer investment and support to early stage social ventures across Scotland.

Macpherson, together with John Montague, Managing Director of Group Operations at The Big Issue and representatives from project partners, Aberdeen Standard Investments, University of Edinburgh and, legal partner, Brodies LLP marked the launch of the £1 million programme by visiting one of its first applicants, Projekt 42, a not-for-profit gym & wellness centre, in Kirkgate, Leith.

Power Up, pioneered by Big Issue Invest Scotland, funded by partners, Aberdeen Standard Investments, University of Edinburgh and the Scottish Government and with legal support from Brodies LLP, is aimed at enabling up to 20 Scottish social ventures to access loan funding of up to £50k each over the next two years.

Ben Macpherson, SNP MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith, said: “I’m delighted that the SNP Scottish Government is playing a significant part in Big Issue Invest Scotland’s ‘Power Up’ initiative. I know 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.

“I look forward to seeing the positive results in the coming years and thank Big Issue Invest Scotland and their partners Aberdeen Standard Investments, the University of Edinburgh and Brodies LLP for their support for the initiative too.”

Commenting on behalf of Aberdeen Standard Investments, Craig MacDonald, Global Head of Fixed Income, said, “We are excited to partner with Big Issue Invest Scotland to provide expert mentoring support to early stage social ventures across Scotland.  My colleagues are looking forward to sharing their experience and knowledge to help make a positive impact and support the development of these new enterprises.”

Dave Gorman, Director of Social Responsibility and Sustainability at the University of Edinburgh said: “For the University, supporting new social ventures like this is an important part of our mission to make a positive impact on Scotland. This adds to the work done by our students, who support and found numerous social businesses and community projects, and forms part of a more extensive £1.5 million commitment that includes our Edinburgh Local Community Grants scheme for projects based in and near Edinburgh.”

Oliver Glick, Vice President Community at Edinburgh University Students’ Association said: “Students are passionate about starting and supporting social businesses – through their studies, purchases and the social ventures they create themselves. This decision shows how the University has committed to truly supporting businesses and projects that make a difference.”

John Montague, Managing Director of Group Operations at The Big Issue, says, “A lot of fantastic early-stage social ventures across Scotland struggle to access small to medium-sized loans, so we are so pleased, working in partnership with the Scottish Government, University of Edinburgh and Aberdeen Standard Investments and with legal support from Brodies LLP, to be able to support those organisations with the investment and business development expertise that they need in order to make an even greater difference within their communities.”

The Power Up programme will make £1 million available to lend over the next two years and is open to organisations across Scotland. The funding available is to enable organisations to build on the good work they currently do within their communities. Whether it’s buying equipment, hiring new talent, or progressing with business development plans. Successful applicants will also receive mentoring and business development support to social ventures for the two year period.

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. The scheme builds on Big Issue Invest’s significant expertise in social venture investment, which since its launch in 2005 has seen the organisation directly invest over £30 million in more than 300 social ventures.

Power Up was born from the Corporate Social Venturing (CSV) England programme, devised by Big Issue Invest. The programme was created to support, develop and increase the sustainability of early stage social ventures. Along with its predecessor SPARK, CSV England has invested £4 million in 56 ventures to date, with mentors and companies still actively involved in several of these businesses seven years later.

Applications for Power Up are now open.

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