“The Circle saved my business” first cohort of social entrepreneurs complete The Circle Academy

The first cohort of social entrepreneurs who completed our ‘More Than Profit’ training programme, The Circle Academy, have taken part in a pitch competition. The Circle Academy – the first of its kind in Scotland – was launched by Dundee-based social enterprise The Circle. The training programme was created to provide people with knowledge and tools to build sustainable ‘More Than Profit’ businesses. The candidates attended expert speaker sessions which covered topics including mindset, governance, business planning and social impact, as well as taking part in tasks to generate income. Throughout the course the candidates were also supported to work on aspects of their business including a business plan and a marketing strategy.

The Circle Academy was run by Academy Manager, Kara Swankie, a former Commonwealth power-lifting gold medallist who at just 24 has already set up and sold two businesses. Coming from a commercial background, Kara already had instilled within her a drive to focus on profit and financial sustainability which is a quality that The Circle wanted to foster in the candidates who joined the Academy. The Circle launched the Academy with an aim to ensure that the organisations being set up and developed by the candidates on the programme would be sustainable in the long term.

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Living Wage Employers welcome Scottish Government Minister for Business, Fair Work & Skills to celebrate ‘Making Dundee a Living Wage City’

Dundee’s most recently accredited Living Wage employers gathered at Social Enterprise ‘The Circle’ today to host a visit from Jamie Hepburn, the Scottish Government Minister for Business, Fair Work & Skills.  

Mr. Hepburn met with staff from The Circle alongside representatives from Coldside Medical Practice, cleaning company Star Clean, vegan café Marwick’s, mental health charity Feeling Strong and arts charity Creative Dundee.

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SE100 logo

We have been named one of top 100 UK Social Enterprises!

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve been named on the NatWest SE100 Index alongside social enterprises such as Hey Girls, Divine Chocolate and Clean for Good.

The list celebrates the growth, impact and resilience of social ventures in the UK – by naming the most impressive 100 social enterprises of the year in the Index and giving seven SE100 Social Business Awards for the most outstanding achievers.

This news is especially exciting since our founder and CEO, Kirsty Thomson, was listed on NatWest’s WISE100 – a list that recognises the 100 most inspiring and influential women in social enterprise – in 2018.

Kirsty says she and the rest of The Circle team are thrilled to be featured on the SE100,

“We are absolutely delighted to have been named on this list among so many amazing social enterprises from across the UK. It is terrific to be recognised for the work we have been doing over the past 2 years to create a positive social impact.”

The Circle Cafe

The National Lottery to fund training café at The Circle

The Circle is opening a training café at its Staffa Place premises. The café will train young people to work in the café and offer employment. We have joined forces with Barnardo’s Works, Dundee City Council and Leisure and Culture Dundee to apply to the Community Lottery Fund for funding to start-up this innovative project. Designed to support the needs of looked after young people and care leavers, the café will employ a Café Manager, Supervisor and several Café and Events Assistants. The Manager and Supervisor positions have been funded by The National Lottery Community Fund Young Start.

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Kirsty points to her name on the WISE 100 list

Our CEO was featured on the NatWest WISE100 list

Kirsty Thomson, Founder and CEO of The Circle, has been featured in the NatWest WISE100 list. This list, produced every year by NatWest Bank in partnership with Pioneers Post, recognises the 100 most inspiring and influential women in social enterprise. Kirsty was the only woman in Tayside to be named on this list.

This came just two days after The Circle was named Social Impact Business of The Year at the Courier Business Awards. Kirsty has worked with and for charities, social enterprises and community groups for the past 20 years. In her career she has raised over £13 million for the organisations she has worked for.

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The Circle team at the Courier Business Awards

Celebrating our social impact at the Courier Business Awards

The Circle has won ‘The Courier Social Impact Business of the Year 2018 Award’ less than two years after it was launched by Kirsty Thomson, Founder & CEO.

The Awards Ceremony & Dinner at the Apex City Quay Dundee was a great opportunity for The Circle team to celebrate the judging panel’s recognition and reflect on their achievements. The evening was a wonderful occasion and The Circle were delighted to bring a trophy back to Staffa Place, however, it is the impact we have demonstrated that we are most proud of.

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Social Entrepreneurs pitch for a share of £20k

Four social entrepreneurs will be pitching for their share of a £20k grant through the Resilient Communities Awards programme. As well as the pitching event, there will be a range of free events open to the prospective grant recipients and the general public.

Run in partnership with UnLtd Scotland, these events are taking place over Monday 3rd and Tuesday 4th September at The Circle Dundee on Staffa Place. Attendees will hear from entrepreneurs about their journeys and watch the pitching event. There are also free spaces to learn how to improve pitching skills, find out about the benefits of adopting a growth mindset and hear from members of The Big Lottery Scotland team.

Kirsty Thomson, Founder & CEO of The Circle, said, “We are grateful to UnLtd for partnering with us to provide this opportunity to social entrepreneurs to gain access to a share of £20,000 to support their own development. It is clear to support social enterprise we have to invest in the entrepreneurs behind them. By working with experienced facilitators we will be making sure that the pitchers are well-prepared and are pleased that the public can also benefit from these sessions.”

More information about the Resilient Communities Dundee Awards programme of events can be found at: https://thecircledundee.org.uk/2018/08/24/resilient-communities-dundee-awards-events-2018-19/