Do you have a great business idea that could help tackle problems in your area or realise the potential of where you live? Or, maybe you want to save a local space from closing? If so, community business could be the answer. Community businesses are set up and led by the local community. Because of this local control, they are often more resilient than other business types.

Starting a community business is exciting, but can be a daunting prospect. The good news is, there is a lot of support and advice out there. Below you’ll find some good places to start. 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.

Setting up a community business can take a long time and won’t be easy. But remember you are not alone – the community is behind you.  Plus, there’s also more than 7,000 community businesses in England who’ve managed to set up trading and locally led organisations – so it can be done.

A wood repatriation community business in Tottenham

Business tools and support providers

From writing a business plan to sorting out your governance, engaging your community to setting up your accounts, this list of business tools will help you get the basics in place.

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.

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. One of the best ways though is by visiting successful businesses and asking them how they did it and what lessons they learnt.

The Ubele Foundation has been developing young BME leaders to take on community assets through their Mali Enterprising Leaders initiative, supported by Power to Change. To help more community leaders set up community businesses, they’ve developed this comprehensive toolkit. From understanding different legal structures to writing a business plan, it’s an invaluable resource to set up your community business to succeed, and be inclusive and diverse.

Granby Four Streets

Raising funds

Getting funds will help you develop your business idea, carry out feasibility studies, market research, hire or buy premises, and really get the business going.

The current Power to Change funding programmes aimed at early-stage groups. Please check if they are open on the following links:

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 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.

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.

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