Start a Social Enterprise in Plymouth

Thinking of starting a social enterprise in Plymouth? Here are some of the places you can find out more:

Firstly, sign up to the PSEN newsletter which will keep you updated with funding and learning opportunities as  they arise and download our app. You can do these using the links on the right of this page

As an aspiring social entrepreneur you can join PSEN for just £22 and access a wealth of experience and support.

One to one support and advice: a good place to start

Pop Ideas is a Plymouth City Council support contract delivered by Plymouth VCSE and Iridescent Ideas CIC. They provide funding advice and business planning support to voluntary, community and social enterprise organizations working in Plymouth. For more information and contact details or to sign up to the informative newsletter go to

Regular Social Enterprise Chat  sessions with Iridescent Ideas provide free 50 minute advice for people at all stages of their social enterprise journey.

Start up support with funding

The School for Social Entrepreneurs runs Start Up programmes in Plymouth and Cornwall. Each participant receives a fully funded place on a 14 day course, a £4,000 grant and a mentor from Lloyds Bank or Bank of Scotland. Applications are competitive and the programme is recruiting until 26th April 2017.

If you’re based in Whitleigh, there’s an UnLtd social enterprise support programme specifically for you with grants of £500, £5000 and £15000 as well as training workshops. Contact to find out more. Paul tells me that even if you’re not from Whitleigh it should be possible to join in with the workshops – so it’s worth getting in touch.

UnLtd also offer a range of national support initiatives including Do it For Real awards of £500 for 16-30 year olds starting a new project and up to £15,000 for projects that have been running successfully for a year. These tend to be quite competitive and cash awards come with the support of an award manager to help develop the idea.

Power to Change is a new national programme established to provide support and funding to community businesses. Devonport and Stonehouse are a pilot Community Enterprise Place, with support and funding for community enterprises in these areas. Get in touch if you want to know more.

Crowdfund Plymouth

Match funding is available for crowdfunded community projects and businesses throughout Plymouth and there is a 75% fund available for projects with a community benefit in Ernesettle.

Social Enterprise Investment Fund

Unique to Plymouth, this provides loan and grant  finance for existing social enterprises. The fund has recently closed, however it hoped that a 7th round of funding will be available later in the year.

Revenue funding of between £5,000 and £10,000  is available for business support with a view to accessing capital grants and loans  to create jobs and bring buildings back into use.

Arts and culture start ups

If you’re working specifically within arts, culture, heritage and digital, specific support can be available via the Real Ideas Organisation. Contact


Lots of social enterprises bank with the Credit Union, itself a social enterprise. Contact to find out more.

Other resources

  • The Social Enterprise Mark is based in Plymouth and offers a start up pack, which includes a legal consultation for £25.
  • Social Enterprise UK publishes a free guide to starting a social enterprise.
  • The CIC regulator has a wealth of resources on starting a social enterprise and setting up a Community Interest Company.
  • Co-ops UK publish a comprehensive guide to choosing an organisational form called Simply Legal.