Open to all: Research to benefit community businesses

Power to Change offers funding and support to the community business sector and invests heavily in impact and evaluation. 5% of the £150 million this trust was awarded, goes towards research and supports the activities of the Power to Change Research Institute. Through the promotion of high-quality evidence and critical analysis, the research findings help shape policy and practice.

Twice every year, we run an open call for research grant funding that invites organisations or individuals that support the use of high-quality research to benefit the wider community business sector. The research may seek to investigate challenges to growth for development, to focus on lessons to be learned from past failures and raising awareness of the role and impact of community business in society.

The following three projects, which will publish in 2020 were awarded through round five of the open call grant funding programme which went live in January 2019:

CRESR (Sheffield Hallam University) and the University of Manchester are seeking to expand understanding of community business’ impact in delivering a wide range of foundational infrastructure to include utilities, transport, green infrastructure, core services, care, education, food provision and finance. The research hopes to uncover that potential for future growth there is.

The Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), in partnership with Cyta Consulting and the Erasmus University in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) research aims to further explore the role of community business sector and the common success factors for long-term durability and sustainability. This research seeks to look at the interplay of the different factors in understanding the conditions needed for durable community businesses to emerge. This research will help community businesses and support agencies including Power to Change find better ways in making community businesses more effective and sustainable over time.

Lastly Community Shares Unit (CSU), hosted by Co-Operatives UK in partnership with Community Shares Scotland and Community Shares Wales will focus on the importance of growing the community shares market in England through engaging people to support businesses that serve their communities. Community shares are important in saving local shops, pubs and schools at risk of closure and helps fund new football clubs, restore heritage buildings and much more. This research seeks to understand the extent community shares offers are successful in benefitting the wider community and whether they meet their business performance aspirations.

Please see all the examples of published Open Call funded research see below.

If you have a research idea with a tangible benefit for community business, look out on social media and the Power to Change newsletter for our next round of open calls for research grant funding in early June. Up to three projects, of up to £40,000 in value are in with a chance of being awarded.