A socially innovative idea is seeded

New business ideas are born out of experience, perceiving need and sensing opportunity.

People often ask ‘where did the idea for The Melting Pot come from?’

The answer is an amalgamation of Claire’s personal and professional experience, interests and values.

Claire has a background in working in the Third Sector and setting up projects and initiatives. She did an MSc in Human Ecology and a thesis looking at ‘the barriers and enablers of motivation of eco-social activists’. Combining all this with a self-employed family, and a natural ability to ‘create connections’, so becoming a social entrepreneur seems somewhat inevitable.

January 2003

People gathering together behind a common cause can make stuff happen

Meetings, meetings and more meetings

Just to get open took 2.5 years of mostly voluntary development work by a group of interested local people, united behind the big idea and what it could do for Edinburgh and Scotland and for good people with great ideas for a better world. Collectively we had a lot to learn, but also a lot to offer.

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Excitement mounts – we find our home!

The Melting Pot is a container…

… to provide a range of special ingredients that create magic inside. But securing a suitable building in Edinburgh’s city centre in the boom years (pre-recession and recovery) was no easy feat. For success, remember these things: anything is possible; and ‘location, location, location!’

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Summer 2007

Dirty business!

100 volunteers help on a 10 day eco-fit out

With just 10 days to refurbish the space before we opened, we were grateful for all the support given by a much wider community of people willing to muck in and make do and mend – all for a good cause.

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September 2007

Open for business – now what?

Just when you think you’ve reached the peak… you realise you’re only in the foothills

Nothing prepares you for life other than the experience of living and learning. Setting up a social enterprise is complex. Opening a brand new type of business, to a niche market, with limited budget, experience, processes and staffing has its challenges… But that is how most things start. It’s surviving that’s critical to longevity.

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1st October 2007

Where does time go?

The years fly by and are celebrated by an annual gathering (and birthday cake!)

The Chinese have a true saying: the only constant is change. People (volunteers, staff, Members, clients, Board) come and go. Systems, websites, reporting – all improve, and then are improved further.

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Our community keeps on growing and getting stronger

Remember remember the 5th of Movember

No one knows what’s ahead of them, or how important the support is that people around provide. We all need someone to lean on, learn from, and collaborate with.



Standing on the shoulders of others

We all need a leg up – so we gave one.

Our Incubation programme is launched in 2012. 10 people trying to start-up and build their socially innovative idea. We pull in our connections and resources – and provide a practical platform of support to 10 founders, and watch them grow…


September 2013

Innovating more new learning platforms

Shoot for the moon and even if you fail, you’ll land amongst the stars

In the first ever Social entrepreneur’s Chat Show, a live studio audience saw Claire joined on the sofa by Mel Young, Co-Founder of the Homeless World Cup, inspirational start-up Marianne Paterson of Ayrshire Children’s Services, and award-winning green entrepreneur Greg Chauvet of The Bike Station Glasgow.

The chat shows are a great success, and repeated every year.

November 2013

Asking what does it take for Social Innovation to flourish in Scotland?

People have great socially innovative ideas – but many never have the scale and impact they could / should have because the conditions are not right.  By engaging people in Scotland through a participatory enquiry process, we’ve identified 5 conditions that enable social innovations to flourish.


Getting global perspectives – translating local to international

We’ve sought out learning from others and shared our own pearls of wisdom. We’re specifically interested in different social innovation initiatives, incubation/ accelerator models and coworking communities around the world. We’ve toured parts of India, Europe and New Zealand; and have spoken at International conferences in New Orleans, Barcelona, Lisbon. Where’s next?…



TMPv2 is born

Who says you can’t re-invent the wheel?

Somehow redesigning our space made it bigger, brighter, sleeker, and provided more options and services – and reduced the prices. Not bad eh? Big thanks to all the volunteers, staff and contractors for making it happen. If you’ve not seen the difference – come on in and have a look!


Summer 2015

Ten years in a new charity is born!

After a bit of a battle, we’ve demonstrated to OSCR our credentials and intent as a company that’s all about social impact.  Our charitable objectives are: to advance education, to advance citizenship and community development, to relieve unemployment.

Donate now!

September 2015

The Multiplier Effect

Why support 10, when you can incubate 30?

Innovating on the design of our Incubation programme means we can increase the number of leaders in our programme, and expand the support to a greater range of those in the extensive ‘start-up’ stage.

September 2015

Co-designing the ecosystem of support for Social Innovation in Northern Ireland

Participatory design follows participatory enquiry. The Building Change Trust commissioned TMP Associates to design a comprehensive facilitation process – ultimately to enable practitioners and enablers of social innovation in Northern Ireland to co-design the ‘right conditions’ for their ecosystem; and a new collaborative umbrella is born: Social Innovation NI.



November 2015 - June 2016

Introducing the Next Big Social Thing

Leaders from our Incubation programme share their products and services with key influencers at our annual ‘graduation’ event (but there’s no Oxford Caps here!)


April 2016

Claire wins Social Enterprise Champion award

In 2016 TMP founder and Chief Executive Claire Carpenter was nominated for Social Enterprise Champion at the Social Enterprise Awards Scotland, and in November that year she deservedly won the prize. Excellent recognition of Claire’s hard work and the inspiration behind TMP!

November 2016

Birth of Coworking Accelerator

The Coworking Accelerator was launched in the 2016 Coworking Europe Conference in Brussels. We shared our expertise and proven template with new coworking spaces around the world, helping them create a thriving community and extending our network globally.


November 2016

The Unusual Suspects: Social Entrepreneurs' Chat Show 2017

TMP Founder Claire Carpenter hosted our 4th annual Social Entrepreneurs’ Chat Show at the 2017 Social Enterprise Exchange Marketplace. The theme being ‘The Unusual Suspects”, highlighting perhaps unexpected corners that are driving Social Innovation.

March 2017

TMP Turns 10!

On Friday 6 October The Melting Pot celebrated 10 years as Scotland’s Centre for Social Innovation. It was a wonderful evening that acknowledged a decade of hard work, social innovation and interesting people doing amazing things.

October 2017

Living Wage Employer

Since it’s been possible The Melting Pot has paid staff a Living Wage. But, now we can happily say we are a certified Living Wage Employer with a glossy plaque and all for our reception area!


January 2018

New venue

In May 2018 we celebrated opening The Melting Pot Studio @ The Crags Centre, a collaboration between 2 social enterprises, with a launch event. This collaboration has generated 2 new jobs and it will support both The Melting Pot and The Crags Centre’s communities.

May 2018

Social Enterprise World Forum

The Melting Pot was an official SEWF 2018 partner and ran several events alongside the conference including a 3-course dine around and pre-ceilidh drink. This allowed some our members to meet social entrepreneurs from all over the world. What an inspirational week it was!

September 2018

The Pot was full!

For the first time in TMP’s 11 year history, we reached coworking capacity in both our Hot Desks and Fixed Desks. Winter 2018 was an incredible and exciting milestone for TMP!

October 2018