Social Enterprises supported in Fife

Two dedicated events were held recently in Fife that offered business support activites to Social Enterprises based in Fife. A funding event, held in FRIC in Methil, and the Fife Social Enterprise Conference held in the Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy together they attracted over 120 participants.

As the interest within communities grows in setting up and running Social Enterprises, as opposed to a traditional charity, Fife Council’s economic development team has responded by increasing both the number and the scope of events designed to give support and advice to this growing sector.

Thomas McAlister of Unltd stated “The Fife Social Enterprise Conference was a first class event. It was great to see so many social entrepreneurs and support agencies come together to network and learn from each other. I met innovative social entrepreneurs and hope to be able to support some of them with investment and support through UnLtd Scotland’s awards programme.”

The Conference, held as part of Fife Business Week, attracted some of the best of the local and national agencies charged with supporting new and established Social Enterprises. A great level of business was discussed, with a number of new projects and collaborations being scoped out by the participants, backed up with great support from organisations such as Unltd, SENSCOT, Social Investment Scotland and Fife Council’s Supported Employment team.

Also of particular interest was the seminar held on Asset Transfer and the Community Empowerment Act, as groups begin to explore how they can either turn redundant assets within their community into viable projects or take on some of the services that that public sector are withdrawing from.

Lynne Ogilvie, Manager at Fife Shopping Support Services, found the event useful saying “I was introduced to many people who were very interested in helping me.  As well as being more aware of the support and funding opportunities for Fife Social Enterprises, I have secured meetings with support organisations to discuss moving forward with my plans.”

The funding event at FRIC, where the Big Lottery was the main funder, sparked a great deal of interest with community representatives and organisations keen to discuss projects aimed at improving their local community with the Big Lottery and other national funders including Robertson Trust. With advice and support on how to convert their community group into an enterprise being offered through BRAG Enterprises and BGFife.

The Fife Social Enterprise Network continues to attract new members and is a great source of information and support to those wishing to set up and run an enterprise that, at its heart, is about maximising its social impact.

For more information on the social enterprise sector and how to set up and run a sustainable enterprise please contact Graeme.ferguson@fife.gov.uk