Article

New social-innovation initiative to be based on campus

22 July 2019
Mark Anderson and his team on a SIKE project in Spain.

A successful social-innovation initiative led by the University is helping deliver Glasgow’s vision of becoming Scotland’s ‘social enterprise capital’.

A new ‘Good Ideas Glasgow’ scheme to support aspiring social entrepreneurs is to be based on campus, in partnership with the established Edinburgh social incubator, The Melting Pot. It’s part of the Erasmus-funded, three-year Social Innovation Knowledge Exchange (SIKE) project which is led by GCU, with partners in Germany, Croatia, Spain and Portugal.

Good Ideas Glasgow is the first initiative The Melting Pot has run outside the Capital, where it’s already proven its success. The Melting Pot bills itself Scotland's Centre for Social Innovation and supports people to develop enterprises, charities and campaigns. Since its creation in 2012, Good Ideas has incubated 93 ventures, of which 46 are still operating.

Mark Anderson is Director of the University’s Research and Innovation office and also a board member at The Melting Pot. He says the expansion is significant for Scotland's social innovation ecosystem. He added: “Universities are beginning to take on an active role in driving social change, recognising that social innovation must be at the heart of their knowledge exchange strategy.

“At GCU, we are already home to UHatch, which assists entrepreneurial students, graduates and staff members, and providing a base for Good Ideas Glasgow is a natural fit to support our drive to promote social innovation across the institution and the city.”

Applications opened earlier this week for Good Ideas Glasgow, following two introductory workshops in April and June. There are 12 places on the six-month incubation programme, with additional spots on the two-day introductory workshop in September. The partnership with GCU, which is confirmed until 2021, will provide research and expertise and covers two cycles of the incubator. Good Ideas in both Glasgow and Edinburgh also receive funding from the Scottish government.

Glasgow already hosts one in eight Scottish social enterprises, according to the city’s first Social Enterprise Strategy published last autumn by the city council and the Glasgow Social Enterprise Network. The strategy identifies more than 700 social enterprises in Glasgow, generating almost £800m annually, and sets out aspirations to “significantly increase its reach, scope and potential” over the coming decade to become the country’s leading city for social enterprise.