ACVO Opportunities


Firstport – Build It

Funding available: up to £40,000

Applications close: 27/06/2024

About this fund

Build It aims to help early-stage social enterprises working towards becoming financially sustainable. It offers up to £40,000 in grant funding for salary costs so that the new jobs help the enterprise increase its income, become financially sustainable and continue to deliver social impact without relying on grant funding.

To successfully secure Build It, we seek evidence that the award will allow your enterprise to establish new, permanent roles while increasing income generation and measurable social impact during the funding period (12 months).

Any jobs created with the funding must pay at least the Real Living Wage.

To apply for Build It, your social enterprise must meet the following eligibility criteria:
– Has a registered office in Scotland.
– Operates primarily for the benefit of people or communities in Scotland.
– Its activities do not involve political campaigning or the advancement of religion.
– Has an asset-locked constitution registered with either Companies House, The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR), or the Mutual Public Register.
– Has a business bank account in the name of the social enterprise.
– Has a board of directors in place, of whom no more than half are related to one another, or employed by the enterprise.
– Has been trading for three years or less.
– Is an independent organisation and not the project or subsidiary of an existing body.
– Can provide evidence of successful trading and demonstrate the potential to become financially sustainable.
– Can provide evidence of the direct, measurable social impact it delivered.
– Its salary request adheres to the Scottish Government Fair Work policy.
– It has closed its Start It award (if previously funded by Firstport through Start It).
– Uses the required cashflow template for the application.

Please read the guidance notes for additional explanation of the eligibility criteria.

What is the funding for?
A Build It award is for social enterprises with a track record of trading and social impact and that need salaried positions to take the business to the next level of financial sustainability. Typical requests are:

Up to £27,000 for a single salary (at Real Living Wage)
Up to £40,000 split between two or more salaries at Real Living Wage

How it works
Build It has four deadlines each year, usually one per quarter.

You must submit an application form, a business plan, a pitch document and cash flow projections. We have templates for all these, which you can find in the downloads section. We need you to use the templates provided. Make sure you read the guidance thoroughly before applying.

If you are shortlisted, we’ll invite you to pitch to an independent panel that makes the final funding decision. We’ll help you prepare for the pitch.

We’ll let you know if you’ve been successful within a few days of the pitch date.

The process from the deadline for submissions to pitch outcomes is around two months.

Upcoming deadlines:
Noon, Thursday 27th June 2024, with pitching panels on 27th and 28th August 2024
Noon Thursday 26th September 2024, with pitching panels on 19th and 20th November 2024

Support with your application:
Applying for funding can be time-consuming, and you want to give yourself the best chance of success. This is particularly the case with Build It, as you need to provide us with a lot of information about your business and finances. For this reason, we encourage you to access our free support through Just Enterprise.

Advisors won’t tell you what to write in the application form, but they’ll challenge your assumptions, help you work through hurdles and access the knowledge and expertise you need to move your business forward. By working with an advisor, you can strengthen your commercial model, cash flow projections and governance, which will improve your application.

We also deliver relevant workshops if you are considering applying for Build It: Cash Flow Planning and Board Skills Audit. You can find more information about these on the Just Enterprise website.

We find that applicants who work with business advisors before applying submit more robust applications, giving them a better chance of securing an award.

How we assess your application
After the application deadline, we assess applications against our criteria and shortlist the strongest applications. We will let you know if you have been shortlisted within 2-3 weeks of the deadline.

You must attend Practise Your Pitch and Cashflow Challenge sessions if we shortlist your application. These will prepare you to pitch to an independent panel that makes the funding decisions. The panel is compulsory and usually takes place online. You can find more information on these sessions in the guidance.

Have a question?
If your question isn’t covered by the guidance or our FAQs, please get in touch via our Contact Us page or by phone.

You can also read about other social enterprises we have supported through Build It in the Case Studies section.

Looking for support with funding?

Identifying funding opportunities and writing grant applications can seem overwhelming, especially when the future sustainability of your group is dependent on gaining funding support. 

Our supportive Funding Officer, Claire Shaw, can help your organisation with every step of the funding application process, from carrying out funding searches to proofreading your application.

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Firstport – Build It


Funding available: up to £40,000

Applications close: 27/06/2024

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