Last night we had the privilege of listening to Deputy First Minister John Swinney congratulate Hostel Hub and our fellow social entrepreneurs. After three tough selection rounds, Hostel Hub made it on to Firstport’s LaunchMe programme — and innovative accelerator programme for social entrepreneurs in Scotland.
Social investment via LaunchMe to fuel growth
Thanks to the funding and advice the programme will provide over the next 10 months, we will open our first Hostel Hub-owned boutique hostel next year. Though we are assisting several communities across the UK to open boutique hostels, this will be the first one that we are directly operating and potentially owning. We will be working very closely with the local community just as we always do, but this will enable us to create a flagship hostel to demonstrate how extraordinary a hostel can be, if we do say so ourselves.
Our plan is to create a network of social enterprise boutique hostels across the UK. Many of our hostels will be owned by communities, some will be owned by us, and LaunchMe will prepare us and connect us to investors who can help us make that happen.
All of our hostels will partner with social enterprises, community groups and residents in the community in which each hostel is based to reflect what’s special about the local community. Every hostel will be run by local people and the profits from the hostel will benefit that community.
Community boutique hostel in Culross
We have already secured an £18,000 grant from the Big Lottery via LaunchMe to convert part of Culross Manse in Culross, Fife.
Known as one of the site locations for Outlander, Culross is one of the prettiest and historic towns in Scotland.
Working with Support Culross Abbey Regeneration Trust, we will turn two bedrooms, kitchen and lounge into a hotel/hostel. This will enable us to test the market and collaborate with the community to determine how the hostel should be developed — for example, whether a community library should be part of the hostel.
Cohort of 7 amazing social enterprises
We’re one of 7 social enterprises in the final group, which includes:
MsMissMrs — empowering girls and women through self-confidence workshops and Empowerment Pants
Freedom Unlimited — providing job opportunities for ex-offenders
Social Bite — offering training and jobs for people with disabilities
Future Soccer Stars — creating the next generation of soccer stars for kids of all incomes and ages
Locavore — reclaiming our food from the supermarkets and putting it into the hands of local people in Glasgow
Buth Bharraigh — showcasing the entrepreneurialism, skills and talents of the Isle of Barra community
We’re thrilled and honoured to be part of this extraordinary group of people making Scotland a better place to live. Exciting times to come.