Business Support

Velocity Café

Velocity is a cafe and bicycle workshop based in Inverness. They have one aim : to help people get on their bicycles and promote a healthy, happy lifestyle. At the point of applying to Just Enterprise in 2012 Velocity was a fledgling organisation that had grown out of enthusiasm.

Having won a business idea competition, the café had been set up on a tight budget with recycled furniture and furnishings and Velocity needed support to get the operation properly established as a viable business.

Just Enterprise helped the organisation to refine their business plan and implement the 3 core themes within it of the café, bike workshop and bike academy for disadvantaged young people. The programme also assisted them to secure a paid graduate who was able to get it to the point of being profit-making. The café is now well established as a meeting place in Inverness, for cyclists and non-cyclists. It is a thriving business that makes the most of local food producers and seasonal organic produce.

"We have been extremely fortunate in receiving support from Just Enterprise since the beginning of our idea. The support has come in advice, experience sharing, connections with experts and others. Without it we would probably still be wandering the streets of Inverness". Laura Nicolson,
General Manager, Velocity Cafe

Young Enterprise Scotland (YES)

YES provide training and practical learning experiences to young people aged 5 to 25, from all backgrounds, across the whole of Scotland. Having earmarked an unused nursery in Rouken Glen Park on the outskirts of Glasgow to develop as a social enterprise hub, YES approached Just Enterprise for support to develop a business case with which to take their idea forward. The plan needed to cover a four year period detailing the introduction of new services and include financial projections that would satisfy a range of partners and funders.

The Just Enterprise adviser worked with organisation to identify the staged introduction of new fee earning services and contracts, which were then developed into a realistic set of financial projections. The template allowed YES to review a number of options that were available to them and whether or not each option was financially sustainable.

YES Academy was officially opened on 28th March 2014. Run by operation manager James Ward, who also manages Albion Rovers FC, the centre includes five new training and classroom areas to train young people through vocational and modern apprenticeship programmes.

"The YES Academy is an exciting new project for Young Enterprise Scotland which benefitted from excellent financial and business financial advice from Just Enterprise. The whole experience has allowed us to proceed full of confidence that the project is equipped for success". James Ward,
YES Business Development Manager


Ross Craig
(Elizabeth Finn Care)

Following his recent promotion to National Officer for Scotland for national charity Elizabeth Finn Care & Turn2us. Ross Craig knew he was gearing up for one of the biggest challenges of his career.

With no formal leadership qualifications Ross felt he was at a disadvantage. To prepare for the increased responsibilities to promote the charity across Scotland in his new role Ross thought it would be important to gain a formal leadership and management qualification. And when he first signed up to the Just Enterprise 'Leading Growth for Aspiring Leaders' programme this was his goal. But what he discovered took him on a learning journey that opened his eyes to something more valuable; his strengths as a leader.

'When I went into the programme I had my sights on the bit of paper at the end. But what I got out of it was so much more valuable. It was more about the insight I got into myself. I realised it's up to me to develop myself as a leader every day.'

Jacqueline Lamb
(Children in Scotland)

Jacqueline Lamb enrolled for Just Enterprise's 'Leading Growth' programme shortly after having been promoted to the post of Deputy Chief Executive of Children in Scotland. At that point she felt she was spending too much of her time and energy fire fighting and needed to get some perspective. She says the programme provided a timely reminder of what she was capable of.

The Just Enterprise adviser worked with organisation to identify the staged introduction of new fee earning services and contracts, which were then developed into a realistic set of financial projections. The template allowed YES to review a number of options that were available to them and whether or not each option was financially sustainable.

'I had that spark on the programme. I had got into a habit of just going about the day to day work and any inspiration or vision had gone by the wayside. The programme was a reminder of our true vision and values, not just on paper. It felt like I got to know the power of using values of an organisation to motivate people.'

Jacqueline says her attendance on the leadership programme has been vital to her personal growth and to Children in Scotland's strategic direction. And as well as thinking about the impact of leadership in her own role Jacqueline was inspired to encourage leadership in others. 'It's not easy to take time out to develop as a leader. What I would ask is, do you have time not to concentrate on the leadership in your organisation?'


Matt Buckman
(U Can Learn.Work.Live)

Matt Buckman is a keen and enthusiastic social entrepreneur. Having trained as a social worker, Matt's idea was to set up an innovative training and support service aimed at helping individuals who have been disadvantaged and/or excluded from education and the employment market as well as those who are keen to make changes in their lives and move towards greater independence.

When Matt approached Just Enterprise, he had been building contacts within the industry, local councils, agencies and other social enterprises but needed help to develop his business proposition to convince potential stakeholders that, although a new start, his organisation would be a genuine alternative to current delivery. To this end, a business adviser worked closely with Matt and his two partners to enhance their business plan and also guided them through some of their options for legal structures. This helped them to make the decision to register U Can Learn.Work.Live as a Company Limited by Guarantee in June 2012.

The organisation secured start up funding from the Millennium Awards Trust in the autumn of the same year and is now successfully delivering training and work opportunities from a fully equipped facility in Kilmarnock. Beneficiaries are developing skills and are given the chance to participate in real work placements with local employers.

"The initial meeting with Just Enterprise was the boost we needed to continue with this idea. Having someone independently assessing what we were planning was incredibly useful. - Matt Buckman -

Jim Withers
(Respite Now)

With a wealth of experience in the disability support sector, Jim Wither's vision was to create a social enterprise offering a range of services and products for people with learning and other disabilities. At the point of contacting Just Enterprise he had already undertaken a significant amount of market research and identified an income-generating business model for the idea but needed support to decide on an appropriate legal structure.

The Just Enterprise start up adviser was able to talk Jim through the different options available to him and provide additional guidance as he pursued funding opportunities to get his idea off the ground. Jim successfully secured a Level 1 award from the Social Entrepreneurs Fund in July 2012 and "Respite Now" was launched as a Community Interest Company in the same year. The organisation now offers a range of services including training, employability and provision of health & safety products to the disability sector and has secured a service level agreement with a local authority. To date, Jim cites patience, determination and an open mind as some of the lessons he has learnt as a start up social entrepreneur.

"The advice and support from the Just Enterprise adviser has been critical in our progression. Discussing things with someone who has been at the "coal face" so to speak is invaluable - Jim