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We held the official opening of our new office at the end of last month and welcomed friends, colleagues and neighbours to see our new home, to discuss our bold wall colour choice and to sample some delicious cake. It was a great afternoon. The new office sign went up just in time to greet people, Brian made it onto Moray Firth Radio news and we also got a mention in the Inverness Courier. And this month we feature in the Executive Magazine. Don’t worry we wont let all this fame change us!
We also enjoyed having the Social Enterprise Summit on our doorstep last week. A great chance to meet up with social enterprise buddies from all corners, to network and to hear how other social enterprises are getting on. There was a great buzz about the place over the two days the event was on.
If you want to create a buzz about your own organisation why not enter the Social Enterprise Scotland awards 2015, now open for entries.  You could be the next big thing everyone is talking about and wanting to learn from.
Our social enterprise of the month, the Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust, should definitely apply.


SIS Workshop - Inverness - 17 June

Has your organisation considered taking out a loan? What challenges will this raise? What opportunities will arise from being in control of your own finances? How do I convince my trustees?

The thought of taking on loan finance can be daunting, raising an endless number of questions. However, in an ever changing economic climate, there is a real need to be able to make informed decisions about the different funding opportunities that are currently available, including taking out a loan.

Social Investment Scotland have teamed up with HISEZ and Just Enterprise to bring you a workshop on this topic. The workshop will provide an overview of investment finance; the chance to explore any ingrained and strongly held beliefs that may be hindering your ability to look proactively at taking on loan finance; and will be a conduit for one to one business and financial support if required by participants.

The workshop is aimed at third sector organisations who are already trading, but are looking to:

  • expand current operations
  • need bridging facilities

  • looking to increase working capital

  • wanting to purchase their own asset

  • convince trustees about social investment

The event takes place at the Spectrum Centre in Inverness from 12.30-4.30pm on Wednesday 17 June. 

For more information on this workshop and others please see here, or to make a booking, please contact or call: 0131 558 7706.

Scotland's Social Enterprise Awards 2015 

Scotland’s annual awards for innovation and success in social enterprise are now open for entries. Social Enterprise Scotland is calling on all social enterprises to step up and demonstrate how they’re improving Scotland’s economy and society.

Fraser Kelly, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise Scotland, said: â€œWe want all businesses to be social enterprises. Social enterprise is a more sustainable and progressive way to do business. The Social Enterprise Awards Scotland 2015 is a prime opportunity for social enterprises of all types to step up and be counted and show us how they’re changing Scotland. We urge all social enterprises to apply.”
To download an information pack and an application form click here
The Scottish EDGE Fund
Interested in winning up to £100,000 for your business? 

Scottish EDGE is a funding competition aimed at identifying Scotland’s top young, early stage and high growth potential entrepreneurs.

The Scottish EDGE is led by a Board of seasoned entrepreneurs, bankers and public sector supporters. In essence Scottish EDGE is a £5m+ fund endowed by serial entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter, the Royal Bank of Scotland PLC and the Scottish Government. The majority of funding is from the private sector.

Social Enterprises are eligible to apply too and will be assessed against the same criteria as all other Ltd Company applicants. Please note that as the Scottish EDGE prize now consists of a 50% element that will need to be repaid, you will need to ensure that the constitution of your organisation allows you to borrow.

Round 7 of this fund is opening soon and HIE are holding an information Session for those in the Highlands and Islands interested in applying. 

This will take place on Tuesday 14 July from 12:30 until 3pm (with a light lunch provided) at the HIE Boardroom, Fraser house, Friar’s Lane, Inverness. This event will give an overview of ScotEDGE and discuss the eligibility criteria and categories as well as the application process.

To book your place email: or call 01463 224226.

For further information on ScotEDGE see the website
Social Enterprise of the Month

The Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust was established in 2011 with a mission to regenerate the area through the creation of employment, to stimulate economic activity and to strengthen and unite its rural communities.
The Trusts’ area of operation covers 680 square miles, crosses Ardgay and Creich Community Council boundaries, includes the villages of Bonar Bridge, Invershin and Spinningdale, and is home to just under 1,600 people. It has six elected directors and a nominated director from each of the community councils. 
The areas in focus have suffered from economic decline since the bridging of the Dornoch Firth over 20 years ago.  In recent times the closure of the youth hostel at Carbisdale Castle and the burning down of the visitor centre at the Falls of Shin have compounded this decline.

Development Manager for the Trust, Helen Houston, explained a bit about the various strands the group are busy with:
 “Following our purchase of the Bonar Bridge Post Office and adjoining house, the house has now been totally renovated and is leased to a local family which brings in some welcome income. And when the only office space in the village was threatened with closure the Trust stepped in to take over the lease thus securing office space for the Trust and for Business Gateway.  Our Falls of Shin team have been hard at work preparing the business case, design and planning application for the new visitor centre to be built at the Falls of Shin site. With funding from the Climate Challenge Fund our ‘Greening Kyle’ team have been assisting householders to mitigate the effects of fuel poverty which on average affects over 70% of households in the area.” 
“Renewable energy is also something we are keen to develop further and discussions are underway on a potential hydro project. Recently we have secured funding from the Scottish Government to offer an activity programme aimed at getting families and older people more active in mind and body.”
“Community events are important for the Trust, whether it be our year long 40th anniversary celebration of the Bridge, holding free Big Lunch events, or indeed consultation events for our development plan and for the Falls of Shin project. Every day the Trust provides a service, advice or just acts as a sounding board for local people or groups.  This interaction with local people is at the heart of our work and being based in the middle of the village ensures that the Trust is not remote, it is accessible and can be held to account by the communities which we represent.”
Find out more about what is happening in this beautiful part of Scotland by visiting the groups website or find them on Facebook.
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