Social Enterprise Award

Do you want to set up a social enterprise?

Entries for Converge Challenge 2016 are now CLOSED. Full list of ALL our 2016 winners can be read HERE. The 2017 programme will launch February 7th - watch this space!

“At Firstrport, we have long believed that social enterprise and innovation go hand in hand - whether through pioneering new, more ethical or sustainable approaches, or by filling gaps and responding directly to emerging social issues. For this reason, we’ve been delighted to be able to support the Converge Challenge Social Enterprise category once again, and to see such a high standard of applications in this field.” Kirstie Penman, Programme Manager

If so you could be in with a chance of winning thousands of pounds to help you make a difference. In 2016, the first prize was £5,000 cash and one runner up won£3,000 (with Firstport) cash. For a full list of prizes please click HERE. In 2017 the total prize pot will change - more information to follow.

IN 2016, Firstport offered the runner up prize for Converge Challenge Social Enterprise Competition. This involved a cash prize of £3k and access to the Firstport adviser network, as well as access to the broader Social Enterprise network. Firstport are members of the judging panel for the Social Enterprise Competition, bringing their expertise on the sector to bear on the quality of the applications.   

What is Social Enterprise?

A Social Enterprise is a business which focuses on tackling social problems, strengthening communities, improving people’s life chances or protecting the environment, as opposed to generating income for private individuals or bodies. Whilst social enterprises still aim to generate profits like any other business, those profits are principally reinvested in the business, or in the community, to help further the enterprise’s social aims.

Previous project winners ideas include:  Bringing Art to Unexpected places in Scotland; mental well being app; socially conscious biotechnology; specialist alternative treatment for c.diff etc Click on our ALUMNI to read more on this.

The 2016 Social Enterprise winner is Erika Grant of the University of Aberdeen with Project TurnKey which empowers people to see life beyond prostitution as achievable.

Who can apply?

A full list of terms and conditions for the Converge Challenge Social Enterprise can be found HERE

  1. Any individual Staff member or Student at any Scottish University or Scottish Research institution. Students and Staff members should gain permission from their Supervisors, Principal Investigators or Technology Transfer Officer, as appropriate, to enter the Competition.
  2. Recent graduates from any Scottish University or Scottish Research Institution (up to 12 months after graduation, if supported by a University).
  3. An individual who meets the criteria identified in 1 and 2 may apply on behalf of a company that has been either dormant, non-trading or trading for no longer than 6 months with an income (incl. but not limited to grants, investment, loans, revenue, prizes)  not higher than £50,000, are eligible to apply
  4. Applicants must be permanently resident in the UK, and most people who benefit from the idea must live in Scotland.

The enterprising idea as per the project proposal should not already be in progression.

The Entry process

PHASE 1: Submit the idea using provided the brief application form – by Monday 10th April at 5pm

PHASE 2: 2.5 day residential training for top 30 projects (May 30pm, and two full days on Wed 31- June 1) All those short listed will be notified by Friday 5th May

PHASE 3: 5 page business case and 1 minute video pitch – Thursday 3rd August (5pm)

PHASE 4: Finalists will be invited to attend the Awards ceremony and dinner where the winners will be announced – Thursday 28th September. All finalists will be invited to attend a Business Surgery offering free advice and support from our valued partners on November 21st 2017 in Edinburgh.


  • £8,000 prize package – cash (in 2017 the prize will increase and include an element of in-lind support - more to follow)
  • 2 day residential business skills & pitching training for the top 30
  • Better developed ‘investor ready’ proposition
  • Obtain critical independent business plan analysis
  • Access to key markets and networking opportunities
  • Share and learn from other entrepreneur experiences
  • PR and networking opportunities


  • The Converge Challenge
    in numbers
  • The Converge Ecosystem
  • Social Enterprise

See more