Support for Social Enterprise

Practical business support:

Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway can help with the initial development of your social enterprise. We can then signpost to other organisations for further support. Just Enterprise – provide free, specialist business support, development and learning service for social enterprise. It includes starting up a social enterprise, funding, training and procurement. Just Enterprise is a consortium of 10 specialist sector organisations, with a wealth of experience in launching and developing social enterprises across Scotland. You can also access the Startbright resource for practical start-up advice and support. Dumfries and Galloway’s Business Gateway Office can offer all general business support.

(The Just Enterprise consortium is: CEIS, HISEZ, Firstport, Social Enterprise Academy, Forth Sector Development, Community Enterprise Ltd, CEMVO Scotland, Lanarkshire Enterprise Services Ltd, Ready for Business & Inspiralba).

Social investment & funding:

Members of Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway can sign up to our regular funding ebulletin and can see regular features on our website blog. We can also run funding searches for you, please get in touch with our head office to find out more information on 0300 303 8558. See The Big Lottery funding information. Social Investment Scotland (SIS) is a registered Charity, Community Development Financial Institution and social enterprise which provides business loans to Third Sector organisations. Other sources of social investment are available from e.g. banks, other Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs), local authorities and funding bodies. Speak to us about Community Shares and see Community Shares Scotland – an innovative new way to fund community enterprises.


Measuring your impact:

We can help you develop your Social Return on Investment evaluation for your organisation. Contact for more information. Evaluation Support Scotland (ESS) also works with voluntary organisations and funders so that they can measure and report on their impact. The Social Audit Network (SAN) facilitates the exchange of information and experience between practitioners of social accounting and audit in the social economy. The contact email for SAN in Scotland is: Also see the SROI Network in Scotland.

Social enterprise venues:

Scotland’s best social enterprise venues listed in one easy-to-search directory.


For affordable legal advice for social enterprises go to Senscot Legal.

Marketing, media, promotion and PR:

Take a look at social enterprises in action on Social Enterprise Scotland TV (launched and developed by Social Enterprise Scotland). Email them to upload and promote your own short films or to discuss other promotional, media or marketing opportunities for your social enterprise. See The Guardian – Sustainable Business and Pioneers Post for social enterprise news stories.

Social Enterprise Networks (SENs) and networking forums:

Themed SENs are organised by Senscot and include a Health SEN, Community Food SEN, Employability SEN, Cultural SEN and Sport SEN. Click here to access to them. Dumfries and Galloway also has a local SEN . Join the Social Enterprise Scotland Linkedin group Scotland’s Social Enterprise Community to discuss any and all issues related to social enterprise in Scotland.


Asset transfer:

For help taking over land or building assets for community benefit, contact Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway and The Community Ownership Support Service (COSS). This service also helps local authorities and others with advice on transferring assets to community groups.



For Co-operative business support and development you can access Co-operative Development Scotland (a public agency that is part of Scottish Enterprise). Also get information from Co-operatives UK.


Other business support:

The Scottish Business Portal brings together all business support for the private sector and is also open to social enterprises. Resources are available via the Portal from The Scottish Government, Business Gateway, Scottish Enterprise / Scottish Development International, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (they also have a specific remit for social enterprise), Skills Development Scotland, Bright Idea Scotland and GOV.UK.

Education and social enterprise:

Social Enterprise Academy, Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health (Glasgow Caledonian University), Interface (The “knowledge connection” between business and academia), Scottish Institute for Enterprise (Developing student entrepreneurship and social enterprise), Young Enterprise Scotland (Supporting those aged 5-25), The Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship (University of Strathclyde), The Business School (Edinburgh Napier University).


Useful web links

Social Enterprise Scotland (The national membership, support, policy and campaigning body for all social enterprises in Scotland)

Social Firms Scotland (support body for the development & promotion of Social Firms – businesses that provide integrated employment for people with disabilities or other disadvantages)

Senscot (for local and themed Social Enterprise Networks – SENs)

Development Trusts Association Scotland (local community-led regeneration organisations)

School for Social Entrepreneurs (Scotland) (supporting social entrepreneurs with personal and organisational development)

Social Enterprise UK (equivalent to Social Enterprise Scotland)

Co-operatives UK (to promote, develop and unite co-operatives)

Community Interest Companies Association (connecting the CIC community)

CIC Regulator (UK regulator for all CICs)

Financial Conduct Authority  (Regulating the conduct of over 70,000 businesses)

Association of British Credit Unions Ltd (ABCUL Scotland – trade association for credit unions)

Scottish League of Credit Unions (supporting small to medium sized Credit Unions)

Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (To lead, represent and support Scotland’s housing associations & co-operatives)


Third Sector Organisations

Voluntary Action Scotland (VAS) (for local Third Sector Interfaces – TSIs)

Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR)

Third Sector Internships Scotland

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO)

Third Sector Employability Forum (TSEF)