Understanding funding for social entrepreneurs

For any business the ultimate goal is to become financially self-sustaining, and one way to achieve this is through investment and fundraising. At The Circle we adopt a ‘More Than Profit’ approach and encourage others to do so as well. Having a ‘More than Profit’ approach means that companies with a social impact should aim to be self-sustaining from doing what they do (e.g. the sales of its products and/or services) and should not be reliant on a single income stream.

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The Circle Academy secures funding for its 2020 cohorts

The Circle has received funding to support the delivery of The Circle Academy to a second cohort of aspiring ‘More Than Profit’ leaders. Funding has been contributed from The Rank Foundation as well as the George and Grace Thomson Fund. In addition to this, the candidates will also have the chance to pitch for up to £5,000 through national funders, UnLtd Scotland.

The Academy is a 12-week training programme for those interested in running an organisation with a ‘More than Profit’ approach. Individuals will benefit from 12 weeks of intensive training covering essential topics; mindset, business model, finance, legal, governance, people, social impact and sustainability through multiple income streams.  

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“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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GSK Volunteer team brightened up one of our meeting rooms

A few weeks ago we had volunteers from GSK visit our building and help us out by painting one of our training room spaces.

GSK are an organisation that develop and manufacture innovative pharmaceutical medicines, vaccines and consumer health products. They aim to bring differentiated, high-quality and needed healthcare products to as many people as possible, with their 3 global businesses, scientific and technical know-how and talented people.

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Caledonia Learning Academy

The Circle launches training programme in partnership with Caledonia Housing Association

The Circle has worked with charity Caledonia Housing Association to run a training programme for their home help service staff. The aim of this initiative is to empower the staff to become more enterprising in order to help make the changes that they would like to see made to the current home help services.

The Circle has worked closely with Caledonia Housing Association’s Home Help Coordinator, Maureen Menzies, and Head of Support Services, Gill Donoghue, to develop the course. The training sessions will cover a range of topics including growth mindset, business models and pricing. The outcome of the training will be that the staff who attend will develop a more enterprising mindset and work together to create a pitch on the changes think should be made to the current home help service. They will then deliver their pitch to the CEO and the Board of Caledonia Housing Association.

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Our Café Supervisor, Caitlin

I am one of two new members of The Circle having joined in May 2019. My role is Café Supervisor. I will be working closely with the other new member Steven who is Café Manager.

I had previously worked in The Circle’s building at Staffa place for one of the many tenants based here, The Food Train which is a food delivery service for the elderly. During my time here with The Food Train, although I didn’t work directly with The Circle team, I learned more about what The Circle was about and how much they help better the community and continue to do so.

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Our New Café Manager Stephen

I am originally from Dundee but have been working down south for the past 15 years. I’ve been back here now for the past 4 years. The last position I was working in was at The Deaf Hub as a Catering Manager, training and supporting people with employment challenges, and working along-side the deaf community.

I have been working in the third sector and with social enterprises for about 5 years now. I decided to get into charity work after I stopped working in busy restaurants, due to a family tragedy. I started volunteering with young people in the scouts, and then with people with disabilities with Mencap, which I really enjoyed, despite being out of my comfort zone.

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Dundee Soup Returns for its Sixth Serving

The Circle and Creative Dundee are collaborating again to deliver the sixth round of Dundee Soup. Dundee Soup is a social event which gives micro grants to local community based projects to make their ideas a reality.

The next Dundee Soup is taking place on Wednesday 8th May from 6pm – 8pm at the V&A Dundee as part of Dundee Design Month 2019. With a special focus on design, we’re looking forward to hear from people who want to use design in their community – in relation to space, organisational change, food sharing, human well-being or energy efficiency, to name a few. Find out more about how you can attend or pitch your idea here.

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