The Circle team at the Courier Business Awards

We are launching our Social Impact Report!

The Circle will be launching our 2 year Social Impact Report on Thursday 6th December from 4pm until 6pm. 

The report will showcase the impact The Circle has had on our tenants, the local community and social entrepreneurs. This event will be the public and free to attend at our premises on Staffa Place.

The report will be available to view and download on The Circle website from 4pm on Thursday 6th December.

Kirsty Thomson Founder and CEO is delighted with the impact with the impact that The Circle has made just two years after launching.

“I am looking forward to celebrating the hard work that myself and The Circle team have put in since our launch. We have been operating for just over two years and are very proud tosee the difference that The Circle is making to individuals and organisations across the city.

This event will also give us the chance to thank everyone who has supported us in this time including ourtenants, board members, volunteers and the local community.”

Kirsty gives a masterclass at Dundee University

On Wednesday 21st November, Kirsty delivered a free masterclass at the University of Dundee’s Centre for Entrepreneurship. The Centre of Entrepreneurship host Entrepreneurial Masterclasses which offer advanced insights into the career journey of successful entrepreneurs, and also knowledge of a cutting-edge area which they have become experts in. Masterclasses complement the Enterprise Challenge programme by providing insights you can apply to your business idea drawn from the latest trends for the modern entrepreneur. The talks are open to students, staff and general public.

Kirsty Thomson is Founder CEO of ACK CIC as well as The Circle Scotland CIC.

After graduating with a degree in Social Science from University of Abertay and a Graduate Diploma in Psychology from The University Sunderland. Kirsty embarked on a career research through the University of Dundee and Newcastle University which involved working across psychology, health, community development and the voluntary sector in the UK. Kirsty has worked with and for charities, social enterprises and community groups for the past 20 years.

Kirsty is working with community groups, charities and social enterprises to become better businesses and help communities thrive. She believes in doing things differently and moving away from the silos that keep sectors and structures apart. She has secured over £13 million in her career and wants to promote the #MoreThanProfitApproach to running a business.

Search now on for The Big Lunch walk team 2019

Next year in May The Big Lunch, an idea for the Eden Project made possible by the National Lottery, will bring together a team of walkers to visit and shine alight on thriving community projects right across the UK. The search is now on for eight community-minded people to take part in 2019.

The walk teams will step out on four routes starting on Friday 17th May, visiting people and communities on the countdown to The Big Lunch culminating on the weekend of 1st & 2nd June. 

Over two weeks the team will set off on a journey across Scotland, Northern Ireland,Wales and England to chit-chat with the nation and shine a light on the extraordinary things that ordinary people do to bring people together where they live.

Peter Stewart, Executive Director of The Big Lunch said: “We’re looking for friendly folk who love to bring people together as much as we do. We’re going out across the UK to celebrate the positive and amazing people at the heart of our communities; so if you’re passionate about community and fancy joining us for a stroll next May, it’s time to apply now!”

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Dundee Soup - Funded by BEMIS Scotland via Scotland’s Winter Festivals, and part of the St Andrew’s Fair Saturday Festival.

Dundee Soup joins St Andrew’s Fair Saturday

Dundee Soup will be back at The Circle again for this year’s festive edition and this time it will particularly special because it will be part of St Andrews Fair Saturday. Fair Saturday is a Scottish Government pilot initiative for 2018 which is being delivered by the Fair Saturday Foundation. After Black Friday, thousands of artists and cultural organisations around the world get together in a unique festival and support social causes through their show and events.

This edition of Soup has been funded by BEMIS Scotland via Scotland’s Winter Festivals, and part of the St Andrew’s Fair Saturday Festival. This is a partnership between BEMIS Scotland and the Scottish Government to facilitate diverse, multicultural celebrations.

Dundee Soup #5 will take place on Saturday 1st December 2018, from 11am – 1pm at The Circle.

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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/

Kirsty selected for Saltire Fellowship Programme

Kirsty Thomson, Founder and CEO of ACK and The Circle Dundee, is one of 18 people from across Scotland who will take part in this year’s Saltire Fellowship Programme through Entrepreneurial Scotland.
Designed and delivered in partnership with Babson College in Boston, Massachusetts, the Saltire Fellowship Programme will offer individuals access to a world-class executive leadership development programme with an experiential dimension.
The programme is short, sharp and intense. It is experiential, not theoretical; taught largely by very successful business people who provide pragmatic teaching shaped through their real-world business experience. The core programme is delivered over six months in Scotland and the USA and it will cover Sales, Marketing & Markets, Innovation, Entrepreneurial Finance, Business Strategy and Leadership.
Whilst at Babson, Fellows will be immersed into the Boston ecosystem with weekly company visits. Fellows will then travel to Silicon Valley for a week-long learning journey.
Upon return to Scotland, company sponsored Fellows will reintegrate into their organisations while open enrolment Fellows will begin working with their hosts for three months on a growth/change project. A second learning module delivered by Strathclyde Business School will take place in January in Scotland.
This year Scottish Government have part funded two social enterprises to take part in the fellowship this year Kirsty Thomson – ACK/The Circle and Christine (Tynah) Matembe – Passion 4 Fusion.
Will Tyler-Greig, Head of Social Enterprise at the Scottish Government, said:
“Social entrepreneurs like Kirsty harness the power of business to improve communities right across Scotland, reinvesting profits into a social or environmental mission.  As part of Scotland’s new 10-year social enterprise strategy, the Scottish Government is delighted to support Kirsty, founder of ACK and The Circle Dundee, allowing her to participate in this world-class leadership and development programme.”
Dr. Claudia Cavalluzzo, Head of Saltire Fellowship Programme Entrepreneurial Scotland said:
 “By supporting Kirsty to enrol on the programme, both ACK and the Circle will grow and this will create a ripple effect of inspiration and support for Social Enterprise communities nationally.”
Kirsty said:
“I am delighted to be recognised for my work. A massive thank you to Scottish Government for the funding to represent Social Enterprise. Also thank you to The Northwood Charitable Trust for their support, to the Board of Directors of both companies, staff and volunteers who are supporting me on this journey”.

Kirsty Thomson Unltd Scotland Award Winner 2017

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Kirsty Thomson, founder and CEO at The Circle Dundee, is one of 5 people  from across Scotland who has been given an ‘Grow It ’ award from Unltd Scotland.

“I am delighted to be recognised for my work over the last 2 years setting up the Circle Dundee and thank you to the Board of Directors, Staff and Volunteers for all their support on this journey”.

The Grow It Award is for social entrepreneurs looking to scale their venture providing tailored support, access to workshops and networks, and up to £15,000 cash. The application process was an online application and a pitch to a national panel in Edinburgh in May 2017.

This was part of the June funding round and there are three rounds per year. Here is a list of the winners

 

Kirsty Thomson, Founder and CEO of Circle Scotland CIC (Dundee) https://thecircledundee.org.uk

Colin Hinds of Cooking up a Storm (Edinburgh) http://www.kiltedlobster.com/cooking-up-a-storm.html

Hazel Smith of Re-Tweed (Eyemouth) https://www.retweed.com/

Jean Rooney of Feel the Warmth (Lanarkshire)  https://www.facebook.com/FTWarmth/

Anita Reilly of Justice Brand (Edinburgh) http://thejusticebrand.com/

 

Kirsty had spotted a problem many of her clients were facing and an opportunity to solve it, so The Circle was born. Kirsty embarked on negotiating a lease on a mostly abandoned industrial building, a former Government training centre. Her eye for potential saw a community hub that could provide office space, meeting rooms and co-working space for charities, social enterprises and businesses with room for a café and gardens. With initial feasibility funding in the bag, Kirsty has begun recruiting tenants and building a Board of Directors to support the project. With 15 offices, five meeting rooms and two co-working spaces, no venue of this type or scale currently exists in the area, and as far as we know, in Scotland.

The Circle can offer innovative training and employment opportunities. They will work to strengthen  collaboration, partnership-working and connectivity to the wider community. As a result of piloting the space for the past year or so they have seen an increase in the number of volunteers involved with their work and the work of  tenants. The tenants are ACK, Ashton McGill, Apex Scotland, Food Training, Prestige Health and Safety Training, Rathbone, The Story Edge, Lumilo Casting Studio and Cornerstone and Uppertunity. They have a number of tenants lined up to move in the coming months.

With 20 years of work in the sector under her belt, she is using her energy and skills to help organisations thrive. Specifically, she is helping them meet their social goals by transforming their business functions: marketing, events, fundraising, strategy and planning. By helping organisations think in a more business-like way, they are more likely to rise to financial and regulatory challenges and continue their important work. She is also working hard to make sure that the work of the 3rd sector is appropriately recognised by those in Government, the local authority and in business and that social enterprises are properly understood.

 

The Circle

The Circle Dundee is a hub for charities, social enterprises, community groups and socially aware businesses in Dundee. They provide affordable offices, co-working and community space. By bringing organisations together, they are promoting collaboration and fostering innovation that does social good in the city. For more information contact Kirsty Thomson at kirsty@thecircledundee.org.uk or on 07756 471334. https://thecircledundee.org.uk

 

UnLtd

UnLtd is a charity which supports social entrepreneurs – people with vision, drive, commitment and passion who want to change the world for the better. Unltd do this by providing a complete package of funding and support for individuals to make their ideas a reality. Our mission is to reach out and unleash the energies of people who can transform the world in which they live.

We are part of a rapidly growing movement in the UK and globally towards a more entrepreneurial approach to careers, life and social benefit. As the leading provider of support to social entrepreneurs and the largest such network in the world, UnLtd resources over 1,000 individuals in the UK each year through our core Awards programmes, which in turn impact many thousands more

We work with passionate, imaginative and innovative people with very different backgrounds, aspirations and skills. By designing products that can meet the needs of individuals, tailored to critical stages in their journeys, we provide flexible, personal support to build their confidence, commitment and contacts. This support gives them the freedom to innovate and deliver impact where it matters most – in the real world.