With plenty of fizz and stimulating conversations, the Good Ideas cohort of 2018/19 unveiled their projects to the world this June at the Good Ideas Marketplace.

It has been a successful year of testing ideas and growing them into social enterprises, charities and campaigns. This year saw over 100 innovators supported through all stages of the programme distilled down into 10 final ideas, supported by chief facilitators Megan Fraser and Helen Denny. The graduating class members are tackling social issues including homelessness, refugee inclusion, sustainability and gender equality.

Class member, Teja Hudson, founded Zero to draw consumer attention to sustainable products so to make better choices for the plant. Hudson said:

“Starting a business is lonely – and even more so as a social entrepreneur. The private sector wasn’t talking about the things that mattered to me. Good Ideas made me feel like I wasn’t alone in my vision.”

Teja Hudson, Founder of Zero Lifestyles Ltd

Kath MacDonald founded Listen Up to support mental health and wellbeing in nursing through storytelling. MacDonald shared an intimate and communal poem she wrote about her experience in Good Ideas. The poem closed with the following stanza:

“We’ve been incubating for 16 great weeks
Go forth and accelerate, use the techniques
And the knowledge we’ve gained thro’ all the transactions
And remember that ‘Patience is a form of action.'”

Want to read the whole poem and hear Kath read it aloud? You can see it here.

A key collaborator in making Good Ideas happen is Challenges Group. Challenges provides space in Montgomery Street Lane for Good Ideas. Neil Fleming, Director at Challenges Group, spoke at the marketplace about the role social innovators have in making Montgomery Street Lane the place it is.

“We have been developing Montgomery Street Lane to become a space for social innovation. Collaborating with Good Ideas is a key part of that vision.”

– Neil Fleming, Director of Challenges Group

Social innovation is at the heart of Challenges’ vision for Montgomery Street Lane. This has created a supportive environment in which the class can thrive. For Teja, “Challenges is like a second home.” Challenges has developed a second space in Montgomery Street Lane that will open in late July to support start-up social entrepreneurs in the city. 

Since 2011, Good Ideas has supported over 200 people to turn their good ideas into new social enterprises, charities and campaigns. Good Ideas has incubated 91 different social ventures, of which 46 still make up the social enterprise fabric across Scotland. Alumni include Invisible Cities, Hey Girls!, StreetFit Scotland and Edinburgh Tool Library.

The Good Ideas Alumni continue to be supportive champions of the programme and incoming class members. Zakia Moulaoui founded Invisible Cities through Good Ideas, graduating in 2016. She encouraged the class to keep pushing forward with their ideas and not shy away from big goals.

“The beauty of Scotland is the connections you can make one day that will be supporting your business the next. The people we met through Good Ideas have supported Invisible Cities in our journey, many of whom are here tonight.”

Zakia Moulaoui, Founder of Invisible Cities

Good Ideas is part of The Melting Pot’s annual calendar, in collaboration with Challenges and Glasgow Caledonian University. Claire Carpenter, our wonderful CEO, said,

“Good Ideas draws simple yet effective ideas to create social change – and the people with the impetus to make that happen.”

Claire Carpenter, Founder and CEO of the Melting Pot

Many of the Good Ideas alumni continue to work at The Melting Pot after graduating. Zakia of Invisible Cities is a resident at The Melting Pot. “The Melting Pot is a special place for me,” she said. “Good Ideas was the first step to move forward [with Invisible Cities] and make it happen. The support I’ve received from The Melting Pot community has helped Invisible Cities grow into what it is today.”

Like a Shakespearian comedy, the marketplace ended with a celebratory boogie led by Robbie Tolson. Graduating member Robbie Tolson, AKA DJ Robbie, founded Back to Back, a nonprofit organisation that uses the art of DJing as a tool to tackle homelessness.

Congratulations, Good Ideas Class of 2019!

We are excited to announce that Good Ideas will be accepting its first Glasgow-based cohort later this year. Applications for both Edinburgh and Glasgow are now open.