The Melting Pot is Scotland’s Centre for Social Innovation and has been providing dynamic resources for social change makers for the last decade.
This year, our tenth, we’re supporting a larger network than ever. We’ll be helping communities thrive by spreading quality coworking internationally and supporting Good Ideas in both start up and expansion stages – all with the backing of the Scottish Government, through their Social Enterprise Strategy.
In December 2016 Scottish Government released the Social Enterprise Strategy for the next ten years*. The strategy was produced using the first ever official census of social enterprise activity and the Vision for Social Enterprise, which was developed by the social enterprise community itself. It is an ambitious, long-term programme to strengthen the sector using a series of three-year Action Plans.
Expanding coworking across Scotland
One of the commitments made is to develop coworking spaces throughout Scotland; providing spaces for innovation and collaboration between social entrepreneurs. Significantly, the first Action Plan 2017-20, formulated to deliver the strategy, names us as a key support for delivering this commitment through our Coworking Accelerator Network**.
Ten years ago, The Melting Pot pioneered coworking in Scotland with the same reasoning as the Scottish Government are using to day to support the movement: to reduce isolation, encourage innovation and support emerging social entrepreneurs. We’re now a flourishing social enterprise, boasting a strong community of coworkers, but the road to our current success has not been easy. It has taken years of commitment, hard work and innovation to get where we are now. The Melting Pot’s experience has been hard won and we are keen to share it. This is why we launched the Coworking Accelerator Network, supported by Scottish Government; to help new and emerging quality coworking spaces in other towns and cities, taking advantage of our decade of experience.
Angela Constance, MSP and Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities said of the project,
“I am pleased to be backing the Coworking Accelerator Network which, when realised, stands to benefit numerous businesses and communities across Scotland.”
We’ve already begun working with developing coworking spaces – namely Kirkaldy4All and The Bread Maker – to offer support and guidance through the process. Kikaldy4All told us,
“The Co-working Accelerator Network’s core values of belonging, nurturing and placemaking can be an integral part of Kirkcaldy Town Centre’s regeneration process. We are excited at the prospect of bringing this new venture to fruition in the not too distant future.”
Supporting a new brand of social innovators
Since 2011 The Melting Pot’s acclaimed Good Ideas Academy has inspired and supported people to turn their great ideas into new social enterprises. As the programme has established itself over the years, the types of people and organisations the Good Ideas Academy supports has expanded and diversified. As a result we’ve seen a need for a place where senior members and established organisations can expand and nurture ideas for their next step.
The Scottish Government have identified this need too, with the Scottish Social Enterprise Strategy noting the importance of intrapreneurship – promoting innovation within organisations from a managerial level. In response, and as part of the Action Plan for the strategy, we are launching our newest social innovation program: Good Ideas Catalyst.
The brand new Good Ideas Catalyst programme will give senior members of established organisations structured time to expand their impact, develop their organisations and nurture new income streams. The programme is completely free thanks to support from Scottish Government, applications close on Sunday 18 June. The Good Ideas Academy 2017-18 will continue to support social entrepreneurs with brand new endeavours – applications open this summer.
The Scottish Social Enterprise Strategy shows true commitment to establishing Scotland as a world leader of social enterprise. We’re encouraged and inspired to be an integral part of delivering the strategic aims set out by the Scottish Government therein and to see so many of our core values at the heart of the approach to the next ten years in the sector.
*Scotland’s Social Enterprise Strategy – Commitment to coworking made in section “1B. Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation”
**Building a Sustainable Social Enterprise Sector in Scotland, Action Plan 2017-20 – The Melting Pot named in “1B.6 Enabling ‘Co-working’ Hubs and Spaces to Flourish”