Powering up community businesses!

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Last year, Power to Change launched the Community Business Renewal Initiative to support the community business sector through Covid-19. As the Powering Up programme re-opens for applications, we take a look at how it works and what's in it for community businesses.

Last year, Power to Change launched the Community Business Renewal Initiative to support the community business sector through Covid-19. As the Powering Up programme re-opens for applications, we take a look at how it works and what’s in it for community businesses.

What is Powering Up?

The Powering Up programme allows community business leaders and their teams to access specific technical expertise, alongside professional development and wellbeing support. Each package of support will be based on the unique circumstances that community businesses find themselves in, as they adapt to the rapidly changing landscape during the Covid-19 crisis.

Want to find out more? Join us for a webinar on Thursday 29 April at 2pm to hear from our Link Workers and programme providers about the impact the programme is having on community businesses like yours. Register here!

How does it work?

Our Link Workers undertake a in-depth diagnostic exercise with your community business as part of the programme. This process enables our Link Workers to gain a greater insight into your community business and to fully understand the impact Covid-19 has had on the way you have been able to deliver the business.

The Link Workers use the information gained to ensure they get the best consultancy support without the community business leaders having to go over the issues again with the external consultants and peer mentors. Many of the community businesses that have already undertaken a diagnostic business review have indicated that it was useful or very useful use of their time.

“It was very helpful as we were starting to look at our business modelling and this process helped me focus on what we wanted to work on, helped us narrow down our thoughts and think about the strategy,” said a successful Powering Up applicant.

Let’s hear it from the Link Workers

Carole Donnelly is one of four Link Workers who are supporting the programme.

I’ve been lucky enough to have participated in previous Power to Change programmes, but this really is something special we are offering to our community businesses across England.

Powering Up offers up to £3,700 of specialist business consultancy, professional development and health and wellbeing support that many of us as community business leaders forget to prioritise as we tackle the day-to-day issues affecting our communities and community businesses. A valuable feature of the programme is the opportunity to be linked up with and learn from other community business leaders through a peer mentoring support package.

Once we have agreed the content of the diagnostic assessment directly with you, we then create a Business Development Support plan and connect you with one of our external support providers to work directly with your community business. Our aim as Link Workers is to find the ‘best fit’ for your community business.

The feedback from the first two rounds has been very encouraging and this quote summed up the positives of undertaking an extensive diagnostic:

“I liked the fact the Link Worker picked up on things which they felt would help my personal development, as well as just organisational development. I’m looking forward to starting my coaching sessions and am grateful that these are part of the programme. Business development programmes often focus just on the business organisation rather than the people in them, so it’s good that Powering Up is doing both.”

Powering Up is all about supporting community businesses to recover from the impact of Covid-19 and focus on the key issues that will encourage growth whilst retaining a holistic approach to ensuring the team are also in the place to drive the community business forward in 2021.

What do other participants have to say about the programme?

“The programme is a fantastic initiative. Small charities like us would not normally be able to pay for consultants at this level, so it provides us with an opportunity to do something in a more robust way. I would love to be able to bring in consultants and have business plans for every decision, but it is unviable. This is a great opportunity”.

“I think this is an opportunity people should not miss out on. It sounds daunting, but it is very informative, and you learn things that you cannot be taught on the internet.”

“We are loving the support from confident, more experienced people to enable us to plan better for our future. This will make use stronger and more able to meet the needs of our people.”

How do I apply?

Head to the Powering Up page now, for the guidance notes, more information and a link to apply!