You’ve successfully made it through the start-up phase but your community business may still need funding to help it move towards financial sustainability. Find out how to diversify your income streams, manage volunteers and engage your community more to keep your business growing.

Below you’ll find some good places to start looking for advice, including a list of support providers. This list is not exhaustive and it’s worth contacting your local council, Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) or other community businesses in your area for support.

Blending different sources of finance can be the way to go for many community businesses

Business tools and support providers

From refining your business plan to developing staff, this list of business tools will help you develop your community business to become less grant-dependent. You might also be interested in our ‘starting out’ business tools.

There are several support providers who’ve been helping communities develop their ideas into businesses for years. Here is a list of support providers, although do get in touch with your local council and LEP for local support. For those looking for support from local government, there is a guide offering practical advice for how best to understand and engage with it to mutual benefit

If you’re looking to diversify your business, you may find these industry-specific tools helpful. Although business principles are similar, running a community pub is different from running a community football pitch. Find a list of some industry-specific support here. You could also look for support from corporate partners in your local area who may be able to give you sound business advice.

Burton Street Foundation

Raising funds

As a trading business you might still need to raise funds for particular projects to accelerate your business towards sustainability.

The following Power to Change programmes are aimed at growing community businesses:

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.

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.

If you don’t think you are a community business, here is a list of funders that might be able to help.

Understanding Community Asset Transfer

Community Asset Transfer is the transfer of a publicly owned asset (usually land or buildings) to a community organisation at less than market value, or at nil consideration (no cost). This guide provides information and advice about Community Asset Transfer. It can be a long and complex process, and in this guide we provide support to guide you on your community ownership journey.

Read the guide to find out more