Social enterprise accelerator LaunchMe seeks ‘ambitious’ start-ups

Social Bite, co-founded by Josh Littlejohn and visited by George Clooney, is among LaunchMe's former alumni. Picture: Jeff Holmes/Frame PR
Social Bite, co-founded by Josh Littlejohn and visited by George Clooney, is among LaunchMe's former alumni. Picture: Jeff Holmes/Frame PR
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Social enterprise accelerator LaunchMe is calling for applications from profit-for-good start-ups with ambitious scale-up plans after launching its fifth programme round.

The initiative, delivered by Edinburgh-headquartered social enterprise support agency Firstport, teaches start-ups how to become investment-ready and directly connects them with investors looking for social as well as financial returns.

It has supported 29 participants in four rounds since 2014, 13 of which have gone on to raise more than £1 million in combined funding from private investors.

Notable alumni include Scotland’s first social enterprise supermarket Locavore, letting agency Homes for Good and sandwich shop chain Social Bite.

The accelerator, funded by the Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, is now supporting its fourth intake which will be ready to pitch for investment in the autumn.

Community transport operator and third round participant South Ayrshire Community Transport (SACT) last week unveiled the launch of two new minibuses acquired through investment secured via the programme.

SACT’s Catriona Haston said the accelerator “helped sharpen up our operational skills and business practices, giving us the ability and courage to think outside the box and scale up our operations”.

Firstport chief executive Josiah Lockhart said: “It is fantastic to see how the business support and investment opportunities the programme provides has allowed organisations like SACT to create jobs, expand operations, deliver better services and ultimately benefit communities across Scotland. We are excited about supporting the next group of ambitious social entrepreneurs.”