Business support

Social entrepreneurs sought in Dunoon

A search is underway to uncover the next wave of social entrepreneurs in Dunoon as the Vital Spark programme opens again for applications.

A search is underway to uncover the next wave of social entrepreneurs in Dunoon as the Vital Spark programme opens again for applications.

The programme is funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and delivered by Scotland’s social enterprise agency Firstport and Inspiralba. It supports local people to turn their ideas into social enterprises that can make a positive, lasting change in the area.

The second intake for the programme is now open and successful applicants will receive a unique package of support to transform their ideas into new social enterprises that help boost the local economy, create jobs and amenities that local people can enjoy.

Vital Spark will give five successful applicants access to free business support, mentoring from industry experts and free working space at the Dunoon Vital Spark hub (described by one of the participants as “a warm place with the internet, I wouldn’t promote it too much!”).

They will also benefit from the experience of the participants who are already part of the programme, such as Fiona Page from Colintraive. She is about to launch Takeaway Creative Ltd, a service that takes creative activities into people’s homes. She describes Vital Spark as “a bit like an octopus. Once you are on the programme, it gives you access to lots of different advice and lots of other businesses. I would advise anyone interested in applying to be brave and go for it!”.

Douglas Cowan, HIE director of strengthening communities, said: “We are looking forward to hearing more about the ideas that Argyll residents have to address the issues that matter the most to them and their communities.  The first round of Vital Spark applications generated a wealth of ideas and proposals that, with the help of the programme, are on the way to becoming new, sustainable local social enterprises.

“Through programmes like Vital Spark, we can support these enterprises so they achieve positive impacts in communities across the area: creating opportunities for employment, training and volunteering, and often delivering vital local services.”

Karen McGregor, Firstport Chief Executive, added: “We are excited to open for applications in Dunoon again. The first intake last year showed that there is real commitment and an abundance of people with good ideas in Dunoon. We are looking forward to supporting more people to take the plunge and start a business that makes a real difference in their areas.

I would strongly encourage anyone interested in being part of the programme to attend the ideas generation session. Our team can guide them through the application process to give them the best chances to be selected.”

The Vital Spark team is running an information and idea workshop on Tuesday 8th of March, 5.30-7.30pm at the Dunoon Vital Spark hub, 52 Hillfoot Street. Applications are open until Friday 25 March 2016. More information on how to apply available on www.firstport.org.uk/vitalspark

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