Power to Change uses most of its endowment to directly support community businesses. We distribute our funding through open and targeted programmes, to help new community businesses start up and existing ones be more resilient. Below you can find links to all of our programmes, starting with those that are open for applications.
We encourage and welcome applications from community businesses from all backgrounds, who meet our grant requirements, and who are looking to make a real difference to the lives of their local communities.
Each programme has its own set of criteria so please read our guidance before applying. If you’re not sure which programme is for you, or if you are a community business, check out our diagnostic tool which suggests relevant programmes by which stage you’re at.
The best way to keep up to date with funding rounds is by signing up to our newsletter.
Currently accepting applications
Start-up grants and support
Community Shares Start-Up Fund
The Community Share Starter Fund provides up to £6,000 of extra funding for community groups based in England planning to set up a community business such as a pub, shop, leisure centres. Find out more about the Community Shares Starter Fund.
The Sandbox Ideas programme
The Sandbox is a small fund for ideas which have real potential to grow and develop the community business sector, and that aren’t eligible for funding through our other programmes. Successful applicants will receive up to £50,000 to deliver activities over a maximum of one year. Find out more about the Sandbox Ideas programme.
More than a Pub
The More than a pub programme offers business development support, advice and loan and grant funding to community groups in England to help them establish community-owned pubs. Find out more about the More than a pub programme.
For access to capital grant, community shares, match funding and loans
Community Shares Booster programme
Community shares are an ideal way for communities to invest in businesses that serve a community purpose. Through this programme, we offer support to get a community share offer off the ground and match fund it when you meet your target. Find out more about the Community Shares Booster programme.
Blended Funding with Key Fund
One of the ways we are making it easier for community businesses to access capital is by using our grant funding to unlock extra investment from social investors – this is known as blended funding. We are using Power to Change grant funding to unlock affordable social finance loans from Key Fund, available to community businesses who would not be able to access appropriate capital without our support.
Community-Owned Renewable Energy LLP (CORE Partners) is a unique £40m investment partnership between Power to Change and Big Society Capital targeting operational, solar farms in England. CORE Partners was set up to acquire and then transfer these assets into community ownership, whilst maximising the benefits to the local area. Find out more about the CORE Partners programme and acquisition opportunities.
Our Community-led Housing programme supports communities to develop their own housing solutions to deliver affordable homes for local people. A £9 million, 4-year programme is to be launched in mid-2018. Find out more about the Community-led Housing programme.
The Next Generation Community Energy programme
The Next Generation Community Energy programme will support the transfer of existing solar farms into community ownership and the development of new and innovative community energy projects and business models, with a package of targeted grant funding and support. Find out more about The Next Generation Community Energy programme
Bright Ideas Fund
The Bright Ideas Fund is aimed at local groups who have a community business idea in any sector, but need help turning it into a reality. The Fund offers one to one business development support and small grants of up to £20,000 to help with feasibility, business planning, market research, community engagement, governance and more. Find out more about the Bright Ideas Fund.
City regions and counties
From 2018 in Liverpool City Region, the West of England and Suffolk we are building strong partnerships with local authorities, city region mayors, local enterprise partnerships and other regionally focused organisations to see what support we can give to bring community businesses together in these areas. If you would like to know more, contact firstname.lastname@example.org If you are interested in star-up or capital funding, please consider our other funding programmes.
Ongoing programmes, closed for applications
Community Business Fund
The Community Business Fund is aimed at existing community businesses that need funding for a business development project to make their organisation more sustainable. You can apply for grants between £50,000 and £300,000 but it is a very competitive process. Find out more about the Community Business Fund.
We are working in 7 places across England to stimulate the growth of community businesses and build the capacity of local people to be entrepreneurial. Trusted catalyst organisations are working on the ground to do so in Luton, Plymouth, Hartlepool, Grimsby, Bradford, Leicester and Wigan.
In 2018, the Community Business Trade Up programme will help 100 community businesses across England grow by supporting them to increase their sales and provide match trade grants, so their impact can become more sustainable. Find out more about the Trade Up programme.
Southwark Employment and Enterprise Development Scheme 2
Working with Business Launchpad, we are running a youth leadership programme to get young people to start community businesses in Southwark. Find out more about the SEEDS2 programme.
Blended funding with Social and Sustainable Capital
The SASC blended programme is no longer open for applications. The programme provided existing community businesses with between £250,000 and £3million in the form of loans and equity with the potential of a Power to Change grant on a deal-by deal basis. This programme was joint funded.
Infrastructure and Innovation Fund
In 2016 we funded nearly £1.2 million of grants to 12 organisations aimed at disrupting established approaches. These approaches are now being tested to see how and where they will make the most difference to the community business sector. Find out more about our Infrastructure and Innovation programme.
Community Business Leadership programme
During a two year programme, nearly 60 community business leaders developed their management and leadership skills to benefit the community business and the wider sector. Find out more about the Community Business Leadership programme.
Peer networks are one of the most important forms of support a community business can get with regular events, community business specific support and networking opportunities. Power to Change worked with 13 peer networks managers to develop community-business specific support. This Community of Practice also explored network theory and what makes a network sustainable. You can read all about their learnings on unlockingnetworks.org Find out more about the Community Business Peer Network programme.
Initial Grants Programme
Our first funding programme launched in 2015 and we awarded over £9 million to help community businesses become more sustainable. You can see all the community businesses we’ve funded on our map.
M&S Community Business Challenge: Liverpool
Marks & Spencer and Power to Change are working together across England to support thriving local economies through community business. This exciting new partnership programme is being piloted in Liverpool City Region in 2018. We are inviting local community businesses to apply for a package of support in the form of skills and mentoring from M&S staff, and funding from Power to Change. Find out more about the M&S Community Business Challenge.