Start a social enterprise

Want to start a Social Enterprise in Plymouth? Here are our top tips for getting started…

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Aspiring social entrepreneurs can join PSEN to access a wealth of experience and support.

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

The ERDF funded Enhance Social Enterprise programme offers 12 hours of free business advice or training for new and existing social enterprises. Delivery partners include PSEN members, Iridescent Ideas, Cosmic, RIO and Dartington School for Social Entrepreneurs. To find out more, contact one of the delivery partners or sign up on the Growth Hub portal.

Pop Ideas is a Plymouth City Council support contract delivered by POP+ 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 course

The School for Social Entrepreneurs runs the year-long Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs programme in Plymouth. This comes with a £3000 grant and applications will open again in February 2018. The introductory Start Up Intensive is free to attend, and you can find out more here.

Start up support with funding

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 three levels of awards, £ 500.00, up to £ 5000.00 and £ 15,000.00 for individuals starting or growing their social ventures.

Power to Change is a new national programme established to provide support and funding to community businesses – locally owned and focused social enterprises. Devonport and Stonehouse are pilot Community Business Places, with support and opportunities for seed 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. 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. A 7th round of funding is open until 29th November 2017.

Arts and culture startups

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


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

Other resources

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.