Project: Evaluation of Firstport Awards Programmes
Service Area: Strategy & Collaboration
Client: Firstport
Duration: 4 months
Evaluating Seedcorn Funding for Social Entrepreneurs

The Brief

Firstport identifies, advises, encourages and seed funds new start social entrepreneurs in partnership with UnLtd, the Scottish Government and others. Firstport commissioned Social Value Lab to carry out an independent evaluation of its main funding programmes. This looked at the effectiveness its various funding products in supporting social entrepreneurs, starting social enterprises, and achieving wider social and economic impact.

Our Inputs

We drew on evaluation evidence from range of sources. Our input included:

  • An analysis of all available data to establish reported progress, performance and satisfaction associated with the funding programmes.
  • Interviews with Firstport directors, staff, funders, and partners to develop a 360-degree perspective on the work of the organisation,
  • A survey that gathered evidence from 116 of the 232 social entrepreneurs supported by Firstport (a great 50% response rate).
  • In-depth, creative conversations with a sample of 10 social entrepreneurs to map their entrepreneurial journey and reveal the added value of Firstport.

The Results

The evaluation produced a detailed picture of the performance and impact of Firstport’s Funds. The findings gave Firstport and its partners great confidence that this method of intervention worked well and achieved impact. The work also stimulated debate that helped to reaffirm the vision of Firstport and provided practical insights into how Firstport might further extend its reach, influence, product range, and impact.

Some Feedback

“Social Value Lab worked with Firstport to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of our Funds. We found their process really helpful in clarifying the purpose of our evaluation and what we needed to learn. They went above and beyond the brief by working alongside Firstport to engage and present the findings to our key stakeholders, which resulted in us gaining real commitment in taking the actions forward. We would recommend the work of Social Value Lab to others.”

Karen McGregor, Chief Executive, Firstport

Read our blog on the learning from the Firstport evaluation and access the full report here.