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Social enterprise behind Pitt Market secures £500,000 investment to complete the move to the Granton Waterfront

07/06/2024
Pitt street Hal Preston

THE Granton Project CIC (GP CIC), a social enterprise set up by two of the former Pitt Market directors to support new and emerging food traders, has secured a £350,000 investment from the Catalyst Fund and £150,000 from Foundation Scotland to operate a larger version of the market at a new location in the Granton Waterfront.

The investment will allow GP CIC to lease and fit out the new venue at 20 West Shore Road. The space will offer a permanent outdoor street market, a 700-capacity multi-purpose event space, and a temporary indoor and outdoor pop-up market space for start-up traders and community groups.

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The team behind the Granton Project CIC will build on the pioneering model developed at The Pitt, introducing aspiring food traders, performing artists and other creative businesses to the market, enabling them to test their concepts, progress quickly and move on. The Pitt’s alumni include some of Edinburgh’s best-known street food vendors, such as Pizza Geeks, Junk, and Moo Pie Gelato.

The new site, owned by the City of Edinburgh Council and operated by Edinburgh Palette (EP), forms part of the Granton Waterfront Regeneration Programme, which aims to create a new coastal town, home to around 8,000 people on Edinburgh’s waterfront. The plans include around 3,500 net zero carbon homes, a primary school, a health centre, commercial and cultural space and a new coastal park.

GP CIC hopes to contribute to the regeneration efforts by developing vital enterprise and community infrastructure for existing residents and the new residents who will join the area when the planned new homes are completed.

As a social enterprise, GP CIC is committed to supporting new and emerging food traders and other small businesses, operating inclusive sites and offering signposting, support and mentoring to people seeking pathways into business or employment. For example, the market will provide opportunities to catering students from the nearby Scran Academy and space for charities and social enterprises to run events or provide support services to residents.

Hal Prescott, Director of the Granton Project CIC, said: “Securing these investments has been one of the proudest moments of my life. Our dedication and passion for this project have paid off, and having funders who share our vision makes it even more rewarding. We are eager to start making a difference and developing this part of the city.

“The support and interest from budding entrepreneurs and community partners have been overwhelming, and we are thrilled to finally move forward. A special thanks to the Firstport team for their financial commitment and extensive support over the past 18 months, which has been invaluable in getting us here.”

Daisy Ford-Downes, Head of Group Investment Programmes at Firstport, said: “We are incredibly excited to support Hal and his team to deliver a project of this scale, replicating their innovative model in an area rich in community action and in the early stages of an ambitious regeneration programme.

“The Granton Project CIC is the single largest Catalyst Fund investment to date, which shows that flexible and patient social investment products have a strong role to play in helping pioneering projects like this, which would struggle to secure finance from other sources, one to get off the ground.”

Ali Kennedy, Social Investment Executive, Foundation Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be able to support Granton Project CIC as we believe it will have a profound and positive impact on the ambitious development plans for the community, including creating pathways into the hospitality sector and the numerous opportunities that can bring.  Our Social Investment offering is a blend of grant and loan, and this type of support to Hal and his team has certainly helped the viability of the venture, which we’re really pleased about.”

The Catalyst Fund, delivered by social enterprise agency Firstport, offers loans starting at £50,000.  It uses an innovative revenue-based repayment model that provides social enterprises with flexible finance without compromising their social mission. Foundation Scotland’s Social Investment support uses a unique model of blended grant and loan, meaning that only 75% of the investment is repayable, with 25% given as a non-repayable grant.

The Pitt in Granton is running three pop-up events in June. For tickets and updates, visit The Pitt’s website.

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