The Circle Academy - RSA

RSA Scotland: The Circle Academy

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Scottish Government to fund free places for candidates on business and social entrepreneurship training programme.

The Scottish Government is to fund a further 40 places on The Circle Academy’s business and social entrepreneurship training programme. The free places are aimed at young people under-30, people in rural communities, and those working in the environmental space from across the world.

The Circle Academy is an SCQF accredited programme for individuals, start-ups, and organisations, who want their business to have a social impact while operating in a commercially sustainable way. The training is focused on developing skills in business planning, governance, finance, marketing, funding, and pitching - with social impact.

The Circle Academy is run by The Circle, a multi-award-winning social enterprise, based in Dundee and Glasgow.

The Scottish Government already funded 25 places on the 5th cohort.

Shona Robison, MSP, and Social Justice Secretary, said: “The Circle Academy has a reputation for developing the skills and experiences of our social entrepreneurs and we look forward to seeing them progress as their businesses and enterprises launch and grow.”

The Academy Manager, Jenny McCarthy, said: “We're excited to be opening the Academy to more candidates than ever thanks to this support from the Scottish Government. I'm thrilled to reach more international candidates and spread our More Than Profit approach across the world.”

Participants will graduate with a business plan and a marketing strategy.  They will also have the chance to receive an SCQF level 7 qualification in social entrepreneurship, and the opportunity to pitch for investment for their business.

The three groups targeted by the funding are in line with key areas identified in Scotland’s Social Enterprise Action Plan

Academy graduate and Burundi based social entrepreneur, Mugisha Parfait of Perfect Village Communities, said: "The Academy has been inspiring! It has allowed us to understand what is necessary to develop our social enterprise, especially in Africa where entrepreneurship is something new."

The Circle are now accepting applications online.

You can find out more about the programme by contacting The Circle’s Academy Manager at

About The Circle  

The Circle was founded to create and contribute to a vibrant and sustainable community. It is a multi-award winning 'More Than Profit' organisation that operates in Dundee and Glasgow. The Circle supports businesses to make a difference to communities across Scotland, the UK, and the World by providing education, social entrepreneurship training, affordable spaces, and a like-minded community. 

For three years running (2019, 2020, 2021), The Circle has been named on the NatWest SE100 list, a list of the UK's top 100 social enterprises and the founder and CEO was nominated for 3 awards at the 2021 Institute of Director’s awards.

About the Academy 

The Circle Academy is a practical and educational training programme for individuals and organisations interested in running a ‘More Than Profit’ business. The programme is open to anyone who wants to create positive, social, or environmental change in a sustainable and commercially viable way.  

The Circle Academy is an SCQF accredited training programme for social entrepreneurs which is focused on developing skills, knowledge, and a growth mindset. 

 Along with one-to-one support and guidance from industry experts, the programme will provide the tools and building blocks to launch and grow a 'More Than Profit' organisation. 

The Academy has supported over 40 graduates over two years. Participants have gone on to set up community larders, work for the National Lottery Community Fund, and set up sustainable fashion brands. We have helped support the owner of Dundee’s first zero-waste shop and an organisation tackling funeral poverty.  

As part of the programme's continued development, The Circle have hired a new member of staff. to support the running of the Academy and help candidates identify funding sources. Nicole Gudo is a Saltire Scholar through Entrepreneurial Scotland and has a degree in International Business and Environmental Sustainability from the University of Dundee.