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What is Social Innovation?

Social innovation is about finding creative solutions to local, national and international social and environmental problems. Social innovation focuses on making the most difference possible (as opposed to maximising profits) but is not the exclusive preserve of non-profit making organisations. Instead what makes it different is that it often involves collaboration between different sectors.

Social innovators are individuals, groups, organisations and agencies that are prototyping (testing), developing, delivering and expanding services that deliver these new ideas.

Social innovation is not the same as social enterprise, as social enterprises are always non-profit organisations whereas social innovation often involves collaboration between sectors.

What is Social Impact?

Social impact is the difference that we make to people and/or the environment.

For example, the Good Ideas Academy aims to make a difference by:

  • Supporting the set up of and helping sustain new non-profit organisations
  • Supporting the creation of new jobs and volunteer opportunities
  • Enabling non-profits to increase the number of beneficiaries they support and the quality of their work
  • Supporting social innovators to increase the turnover of their organisations

Who should apply for the Good Ideas Academy?

If you have an idea, currently offer consultancy or even a registered business – that you want to grow – that will have positive social impact at its heart and soul – then we’d like to hear from you. It can be ‘for profit’ or ‘non-profit’ – at the initial stage – we are agnostic and want to help you shape it.

However, we will prioritise working with people to create new or develop emerging non-profit organisations, rather than private businesses, for the ‘Good Ideas Class 18’ stage – see below for more info.

What are the key dates and stages?

‘The Good Ideas Academy 2017-18’ begins with the ‘Good Ideas Camp’. You will be required to commit to four workshops on 4th, 5th, 11th & 12th November 2017 from 9-5pm at The Melting Pot in Edinburgh.

In order to progress on to the ‘Good Ideas Class of 2018’ (January – June 2018) you will be required to pitch your idea at an event on 4 December 2017 from 5-8:30pm at The Melting Pot in Edinburgh.

10 socially innovative ideas and their founder/s will be selected at this point to move forwards into the next stage of the programme – the ‘Good Ideas Class on 2018’. This run January – June 2018, and group workshops will be focused on Monday nights, 6-9pm though other inputs will be held at different times.

What are the ‘Firstport’s Social Enterprise Programme Awards’?

Firstport, Scotland’s agency for start-up social enterprise and entrepreneurs is kindly sponsoring 3-5 awards of £500 each for ‘Good Ideas’. ‘Good ideas’ will be judged during the ‘Good Idea Camp’ pitching event on 4 December 2017 at The Melting Pot.

These awards are part of the Social Entrepreneurship Programme, delivered by Firstport and supported by CGI, the fifth largest independent information technology and business process services firm in the world. The programme aims to help find and support enterprising ideas to challenges faced by communities across Edinburgh.


Are there any criteria for qualifying for the ‘Firstport’s Social Enterprise Programme Awards’?

  • You must have attended both of the ‘Good Idea Camp’ weekends on 4-5 November and 11-12 November
  • The individual or group pitching the idea must be based in or delivering to Edinburgh communities
  • Firstport is particularly interested in supporting ideas that engage with hard to reach groups or that work in areas of deprivation in the city

How will the ‘Good Ideas’ be judged for the ‘Firstport’s Social Enterprise Programme Awards’?

The pitch for the fund must clearly outline what the £500 will be used for and how it will fit with their business model/strategy/testing their idea. Further guidelines and criteria will be available in due course.

Firstport will make the final judgement on the ideas they will fund.

What happens if I win a ‘Firstport’s Social Enterprise Programme Awards’?

Firstport will manage the funds. There is one-to-one aftercare support available for each individual or group and you would be encouraged to tap into workshops and other support provided by Firstport. There is also a requirement to make a two minute video that will be used to promote the awardees alongside other recipients.

What is the cost?

The Good Ideas Academy is FREE to you – thanks to the support of our sponsors.

Is overnight accommodation available and included?

No, not by us… but there’s plenty of places you can stay in this great city, on any budget!

What travel expenses can I claim back?

A maximum of £10 can be claimed for each day of attendance at the ‘Good Ideas Camp’. If there is more than one person working on an idea £10 is the combined amount which can be claimed. A claim form can be picked up on each day of the camp. A refund will be provided when the form is complete and proof of purchase of travel claimed is attached and approved by The Melting Pot.

Who can I contact if I want to ask something not mentioned here?

Please email Julie Ellam, the Programme coordinator. She works part-time and will respond ASAP.