New funding pot for community business start-ups

A new programme launched today, and part-funded by Power to Change, will help groups get their community business ideas up and running.

The £1.85million Community Business Bright Ideas Fund, also funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government and run by Locality, will offer tailored support and grants of up to £20,000 to 80 groups to develop their projects.

The fund is open to community groups, associations and organisations across England which have a good idea for a community business but need help developing it, or which are just starting out.

It aims to give community groups the early stage finance they need to carry out consultations with local people to develop a community business idea the community wants and needs and will also give them support and tools to start setting up their community businesses.

Locality Chief Executive Tony Armstrong said: “The Bright Ideas Fund will give organisations a chance to make a real difference to the lives of people in their neighbourhoods by getting their community businesses off the ground.

“Whether you aim to start a local bus service, run a village shop or set up a health and wellbeing centre, community businesses generate jobs, tackle social isolation and boost the local economy. People all over England are bursting with bright ideas and we hope this fund will help to realise them.”

Led by Locality and jointly funded by the DCLG and Power to Change, the two-year programme will also be delivered by a consortium including Co-ops UK, Plunkett Foundation and Groundwork UK.

Kate Stewart, Director of Funds at Power to Change, said: “As the organisation set up to support and grow community businesses in England, we’re really excited to launch Bright Ideas, to provide crucial support and funding for local people who have a great idea but need some support to make it a reality.

“There are over 5,000 community businesses run by and for local people in England, which are making a positive difference to local communities. We want to increase that number to help build stronger communities through community business.”

Communities Minister Andrew Percy said: “Getting any business venture off the ground can be a challenge, so it’s great news that this fund will help people do just that.

“Whether it be tackling social isolation by improving community transport or redeveloping and reviving old buildings and town halls as new community centres, this money will really make a difference.”

The Community Business Bright Ideas Fund opens for applications today, September 30, and applications will be accepted until end of November. There will be additional funding rounds in February and September 2017 and February 2018.

To apply for the Community Business Bright Ideas Fund visit http://mycommunity.org.uk/funding-options/bright-ideas-fund/