Community businesses (‘CBs’) play a vital role in strengthening the resilience of communities, having people and place at its heart. Evidence from Power to Change’s past few years of research and work suggests that CBs require more support with the technical and cultural skills to proactively manage their finances and business modelling. Covid-19 has exacerbated these financial skills gaps, and with the cost of living crisis unfolding, it is particularly important that CBs have the ability to navigate turbulent times and develop the strong foundations needed to remain adaptable and resilient. Power to Change commissioned Think Social Tech to explore the challenges and opportunities facing CBs to improve their financial and digital position to remain resilient, and understand the context in which problems/needs emerge and the systems which need to change.
Power to Change consequently commissioned two pilot projects – one delivered by The Women’s Organisation (‘The WO’), and the other delivered by Locality – to explore different ways to effectively support CBs with strengthening their financial capabilities. Drawing on document reviews of project outputs, interviews and workshops with The WO, Locality, and CB participants, this report aims to:
- Determine to what extent the projects addressed the four financial opportunities (outlined above), and where there are potential gaps for further consideration
- Capture and share learning on the key enablers and barriers to strengthen CBs’ financial capabilities across both pilots
- Provide recommendations for Power to Change’s future approaches to supporting the financial capabilities of community businesses and the wider sector.