Two years in: what have we learned?

We’ve generated a lot of research evidence…

Since its inception in 2016, the Power to Change Research Institute has funded research which helps us, and the sector more widely, understand the community business market as a whole as well as its diverse sectors and the factors contributing to its success. This has culminated in close to 30 reports focused on a range of topics from testing methods, exploring what works in specific sectors, providing estimates of the sector as a whole to mining data around community business finance. These reports have been delivered by a range of partners such as independent researchers, academics, and think tanks.

… and we know that you haven’t the time to read it all.

So we’ve compiled the key evidence relating to community business, from the first two years of our research programme, into a concise summary report. This accessible compendium showcases the best and most pertinent of what we know about community business in six key areas of knowledge:

  • the community business model
  • assets
  • workforce
  • growth
  • finance

This amalgamation of Power to Change’s learning is by no means an exhaustive encyclopaedia of evidence relating to community business. There are plenty of gaps in our understanding that need filling in the coming years. For example, more needs to be understood about the beneficiaries of and ecosystems around community businesses as a means to understanding the impact they can have. But in the meantime, this compendium of evidence can be used by commissioners, community businesses, academics or anyone who wants an overview about community businesses; what they do, how they work and what makes them successful.

If you want to send us your feedback on the report, or you’d like some copies to share with others, just drop us a line at

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