M&S sets community business challenge in Plymouth

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M&S and Power to Change join forces to launch Community Business initiative: local community businesses invited to apply for a package of support including business development and funding
21 Mar, 2019

M&S and Power to Change, the independent charitable trust dedicated to supporting thriving local communities, have launched a new business support programme for Plymouth, offering local businesses the chance to apply for free skills training and up to £10,000 of grant funding.

Successful applicants of the M&S Community Business Challenge will win specialist business development support from M&S, together with grants from Power to Change, to help nurture and grow their community businesses.

Those that apply must meet Power to Change’s definition of a community business, have a primary area of impact within Plymouth, and be an incorporated organisation that has ideally been trading for at least 12 months.

A number of information sessions about the challenge are being held across the region by the Real Ideas Organisation, Power to Change’s local partner in Plymouth. The sessions are taking place at Devonport Guildhall (10.00am-12.30pm on Wednesday 20th March and Tuesday 2nd April, and 2.00pm-4.30pm on Thursday 4th April), and Ocean Studios (2.00pm – 4.30pm on Friday 29th March). You can have a listen to our most recent webinar explaining what the M&S Community Business Challenge in Plymouth will have to offer and what applicants can expect in the process.

Allison Jenkins, M&S Head of Region for the South West, said: “This is a great opportunity for businesses across Plymouth and I’m excited that the programme is being brought to the area. I urge community businesses to get involved and if they require any further information, to make the most of the in-person information sessions.”

Mark Gordon, Director of Communications and Partnerships at Power to Change, added: “We believe that community businesses have the power to transform lives, and in Plymouth the movement is already happening. From clothing factories to pubs, the city is full of inspirational community businesses, powered by inspirational people with true entrepreneurial spirit. We are delighted to be focusing the launch of our new partnership with M&S here and can’t wait to see what the people of Plymouth have in store.”

Applications close at 6pm on Friday 12th April 2019. Applicants are advised that as part of the application process they are asked to encourage and demonstrate support from local people. Evidence of local support will also comprise part of the final pitch to a judging panel on 30th May 2019.

At the interactive pitching event, the judges will reveal the businesses chosen to receive support from M&S staff and funding in 2019.

For more information about the programme, visit www.communitybusinesschallenge.co.uk



Media contacts:

Rebecca Elmer or Lucy Newman at GraylingSW@grayling.com

T: 0117 910 6360


About Power to Change


Power to Change is the independent trust that supports community businesses in England.

Community businesses are locally rooted, community-led, trade for community benefit and make life better for local people. The sector is worth £1.05 billion, and comprises 7,800 community businesses across England who employ 33,600 people. (Source: Community Business Market 2018)


From pubs to libraries; shops to bakeries; swimming pools to solar farms; community businesses are creating great products and services, providing employment and training and transforming lives. Power to Change received its endowment from the National Lottery Community Fund in 2015.

www.powertochange.org.uk @peoplesbiz

For more information please contact: Alex Valk 07384 812777 alexv@www.powertochange.org.uk

About The National Lottery Community Fund

We are the largest community funder in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.