New venture

One stop hub launches to help social enterprises

Partners: the new hub’s first users (pic: contributed)

A hub for social entrepreneurs, start-ups, charities and SMEs is aiming to help boost growth in the sector.

The Montgomery Street Lane venture, based in Edinburgh, is a collaboration between support agencies, Firstport, Challenges Group, Project Scotland and Volunteering Matters.

The founders said the initiative will provide a “one-stop shop” for ambitious social businesses and charities while also acting as a focal point for impact investors targeting enterprises that are addressing social challenges. 

“The vision for Montgomery Street Lane is a bold one,” said Josiah Lockhart, Firstport’s chief executive. “We’re building an enterprise support network for social entrepreneurs and impact investors, for start-ups and SMEs looking to grow, expand and export. We’re focused on making it a place of optimism, opportunity and outcomes.”

Mr Lockhart added: “We’re offering these individuals a place where key support services are in one location, and where each of the Lane residents can collaborate on offering a joined-up and partnership approach to business development and growth.”

The four organisations work across a range of fields including business consultancy, management training, exports, seed funding, impact investment, business support services, volunteering , international development, marketing and communications, and project management. Between them, they have about 40 staff and volunteers working out from the refurbished 19th-century mews houses just off Elm Row.

Mr Lockhart added: “We’ve seen the model operating successfully and impactfully in other countries, such as in Sweden, but this is the first of its type in Scotland.”

Alexandra Baker, director of challenges, said: “Montgomery Street Lane is where an entrepreneur can come and have their business idea scrutinised, supported, and turned into a viable strategic plan that can then grow into a sustainable business. 

“Together, Challenges, Firstport, ProjectScotland and Volunteering Matters bring a range of business options, such as management training, internships, volunteering opportunities, project management, and of course export and international market linkages.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked as *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.