Social Investment Scotlands Retail Academy Team

Social Investment Scotland’s (SIS) Retail Academy has opened for applications from social enterprises that want to learn how to scale up their offering and increase the availability of their sustainable and ethical products.

Developed by SIS, in partnership with ASDA and supported by the Scottish Government, the SIS Retail Academy offers a select group of social enterprises an intensive programme of support and advice to help them launch their products to a wider market of socially-conscious consumers.

Interested parties have until 13 March to submit their interest. Successful applicants will be invited to take part in the three-day Academy which runs from 20 to 22 May in Falkirk.

The Academy has 20 spaces available for successful social enterprises and participants can expect an intensive three days where they will strengthen their understanding of retail and corporate markets and refine their commercial and marketing skills.

All participants have the opportunity to meet with national retail experts and corporate buyers from stores and retailers including Asda and Dobbies. They will provide expert feedback with the potential to develop a future buyer-supplier relationship.  

There have been several success stories since the inaugural Academy took place in 2016. Most recently, The Blankfaces, the UK’s first fashion label aimed at ending homelessness, took part in the Academy in 2019 and is now stocked in Edinburgh Castle.

Similarly, Brewgooder, a craft beer on a mission to bring clean water to one million people, has become an established brand since they secured national listings with Asda. Both enterprises have significantly increased the scale and size of their operations, allowing them to create deeper social impacts.

Alastair Davis, CEO, Social Investment Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be bringing back our successful Retail Academy for the fourth year. While the course has helped several enterprises establish their brands, others have benefited from realising what it takes to get their enterprise to this stage and we’ve provided them with the knowledge and tools to work towards this. 

“The Academy is an invaluable opportunity for social enterprises regardless of where they are in their journey – however we do ask that enterprises have the drive and ambition to scale up their offering and to deliver greater impact.

“This is a rare opportunity for social enterprises to receive insight and time with industry leaders in what is a highly competitive sector, so as in previous years, I anticipate a great deal of interest from enterprises. I would urge any interested social enterprises to get in touch for further information on how they can get involved.”

Gerard McKenzie-Govan, founder of The Blankfaces, added: “The Retail Academy was an awesome opportunity. From all the speakers and the retailer visit to the pitching, the business, expertise and connections we got out of it were great.”

Interested social enterprises have until 13 March 2020 to get in touch for further information. For more details please contact Kieran Daly at Social Investment Scotland on 0131 558 7706 or


Related campaign: 

The UK Social Entrepreneur Index is a celebration of social entrepreneurship across the UK. 

Open to social entrepreneurs tackling a social or environmental issue at any scale, entrants will act as beacons of inspiration for others to encompass positive social impact.

For more info visit

Neina Sheldon
Article by Neina Sheldon
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