Community businesses from across the UK can apply to receive a grant matched to their earnings of up to £10,000, to support their growth.
Now in its third year, the programme is open for applications until Thursday 14 February 2019.
Businesses taking part in the scheme receive the match trading grant of up to £10,000, a fully funded nine-month learning programme consisting of 12 learning days and have access to a community of supportive peers.
The learning programme runs from June 2019 to March 2020 providing places for 80 community business leaders across England who will learn in groups of 10 at eight different locations across England.
According to SSE, the first cohort of the Community Business Trade Up Programme achieved a typical 92% increase in income from trading.
One of the businesses receiving support through the programme was the Green Elephant Co-operative at Halton Mill in Lancaster, which managed to increase trading by 36% after receiving grant funding through it.
Alastair Wilson, CEO of School for Social Entrepreneurs, said: “We’re delighted to partner with Power to Change for a third year, so we can jointly support a further 80 community business in England to grow. Community businesses strengthen local economies and enrich the fabric of society. But running them can be challenging. We’ll help community business leaders develop the skills, strengths and networks they need to improve their sustainability and impact, with the support of match trading grants and a learning approach we’ve refined over 21 years.”
Jenny Sansom, programmes manager at Power to Change, said: “This programme will give a really important step up for relatively new community businesses and help them to focus on their trading activities and long-term sustainability. The first cohort of this kind of funding enjoyed a 92% increase in trading, which is a huge impact. I’m delighted to be opening up this programme for a new group of community businesses in 2019.”
Buzz Lockleaze, a community interest company in Bristol also took part in the programme. The business runs a community shop, café and a garden. It grows, produces and sells fresh and affordable food, offering volunteering and training opportunities.
Business development manager Roisin Tobin completed the Community Business Trade Up Programme in 2018 and received a match trading grant.
She says: “The match trading grant really helped us to focus on growing our income from trading. We knew that if we put the effort in, we would receive an additional pound in funding for every pound we earned. Combined with the learning sessions, it proved to be the catalyst we needed to try ideas and move our thinking from how we would find the next grant to keep us going, to what income we could generate ourselves, to be supplemented by grant. Knowing we’re more self-sufficient is a great boost for the whole team at Buzz Lockleaze.”