UnLtd Award Winner



Kirsty Thomson, founder and CEO at The Circle Dundee, is one of 5 people from across Scotland who has been given an ‘Grow It ’ award from Unltd Scotland.

“I am delighted to be recognised for my work over the last 2 years setting up the Circle Dundee and thank you to the Board of Directors, Staff and Volunteers for all their support on this journey”.

The Grow It Award is for social entrepreneurs looking to scale their venture providing tailored support, access to workshops and networks, and up to £15,000 cash. The application process was an online application and a pitch to a national panel in Edinburgh in May 2017.

 

Kirsty had spotted a problem many of her clients were facing and an opportunity to solve it, so The Circle was born. Kirsty embarked on negotiating a lease on a mostly abandoned industrial building, a former Government training centre. Her eye for potential saw a community hub that could provide office space, meeting rooms and co-working space for charities, social enterprises and businesses with room for a café and gardens. With initial feasibility funding in the bag, Kirsty has begun recruiting tenants and building a Board of Directors to support the project. With 15 offices, five meeting rooms and two co-working spaces, no venue of this type or scale currently exists in the area, and as far as we know, in Scotland.

The Circle can offer innovative training and employment opportunities. They will work to strengthen collaboration, partnership-working and connectivity to the wider community. As a result of piloting the space for the past year or so they have seen an increase in the number of volunteers involved with their work and the work of tenants. The tenants are ACK, Ashton McGill, Apex Scotland, Food Training, Prestige Health and Safety Training, Rathbone, The Story Edge, Lumilo Casting Studio and Cornerstone and Uppertunity. They have a number of tenants lined up to move in the coming months.

With 20 years of work in the sector under her belt, she is using her energy and skills to help organisations thrive. Specifically, she is helping them meet their social goals by transforming their business functions: marketing, events, fundraising, strategy and planning. By helping organisations think in a more business-like way, they are more likely to rise to financial and regulatory challenges and continue their important work. She is also working hard to make sure that the work of the 3rd sector is appropriately recognised by those in Government, the local authority and in business and that social enterprises are properly understood.

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