Blog

The latest articles and ideas from Inspiring Scotland and our partners.

Back to Posts
11.12.2018

Venture that is reaping rewards for young people

WIND the clock back 10 years and Scotland was in the grip of the global banking crisis. Royal Bank of Scotland was bailed out, Halifax Bank of Scotland was forced into a shotgun marriage with Lloyds TSB and consumers stared into the precipice of a decade of ultra-low savings rates.

Yet, amongst the gloom of the looming recession, there were chinks of light. Without fanfare, but with plenty of gusto, Inspiring Scotland was launched to tackle some of the most deep-rooted social mobility problems in our nation.

Inspiring Scotland takes essential charities and helps them become exceptional ones using a “venture philanthropy” model. Just as venture capitalists provide funding to develop start-up companies, so venture philanthropists provide the cash to help charities scale up and sustain their activities.

Its flagship 14:19 Fund is about to celebrate a decade in operation and is on course to hit its ambitious target of helping 35,000 young Scots into employment, education and training. More than £50 million has been invested by the fund, seeded with finance from the Scottish Government, private trusts, foundations and philanthropists. It has attracted a further £75.6m of match funding.

Yet the money is only half of the picture. What sets the 14:19 Fund and the wider Inspiring Scotland model apart is how they provide the expertise and advice to help charities manage their cash and other aspects of their operations. Venture capitalists know when they need to jump in and help the companies in which they invest. Venture philanthropists are no different.

Venture philanthropy is a highly-engaged form of funding and our performance advisors, often from senior financial and professional services positions, work with staff at our charities to strengthen their day-to-day management. This comprises implementing strategic business plans, developing risk management strategies and strengthening financial management, including through cost-benefit analyses. We also have a network of more than 300 professional volunteers, ranging from lawyers and accountants to photographers and marketing specialists, who provide expert advice to our charities on a pro-bono basis.

Many go on to join the boards of the charities, strengthening their commitment to tackling poverty and improving life chances in Scotland.

One of the most inspiring examples of our pro-bono success is the Callander Youth Project Trust (CYPT), a charity that helps young people into work and education. When CYPT managing director Chris Martin told his board that he wanted to develop a building in the town to launch a pair of social enterprises – the Bridgend cafe and the Callander Youth Hostel – they thought he was mad. With advice from Inspiring Scotland’s volunteers, CYPT has breathed new life into the local area, with the youth hostel picking up a five-star rating from VisitScotland and the cafe thriving.

As the 14:19 Fund concludes 10 years of success, our attention turns to Inspiring Scotland’s next venture. Helping 35,000 young people into education, employment and training is a massive achievement but youth unemployment is still a spectre that holds back many communities from realising their full potential.

It’s not enough for us to put our hands in our pockets to support charities and then walk away. We need to roll up our sleeves and help them better manage their finances and operations so that they can better sustain support for more young people across our most disadvantaged communities.

This article was written by Sinclair Dunlop and was originally published in The Herald on the 5th of December 2018.
An Inspiring Partnership: Venture Trust and Inspiring Scotland
17.01.2019

An Inspiring Partnership: Venture Trust and Inspiring Scotland

This is a guest post written by a member of staff at Venture Trust It’s the small things that really matter… relationships forged through a shared endeavour to help young people transform their lives for the long term. For the past 10 years, Inspiring Scotland and Venture Trust have been working together to change the

Read More
It’s good business sense for charities to be sustainable
14.01.2019

It’s good business sense for charities to be sustainable

MENTION the word “charity” to most people and they’ll immediately think of the grey-haired old lady with the sweet smile standing behind the second-hand shop counter. Yet today’s charities rarely fit into that and clichéd image; the third sector is big business in Scotland, employing more than 100,000 workers and turning over £5.8 billion last

Read More
Invest in a good cause to receive greater returns
11.12.2018

Invest in a good cause to receive greater returns

Former Baillie Gifford & Co partner Leslie Robb shares the rewards of venture philanthropy following his investment in Inspiring Scotland’s 14:19 Fund. When an investor is running the rule over a potential deal, one question pops up again and again: what’s the return on my investment? Whether it is the dividend or the interest rate

Read More