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Free support for new and existing co-operative and community businesses in West Yorkshire

News item

23rd February 2024
Last updated
1st March 2024
Co-op development
Business for Good West Yorkshire

There’s help for co-ops in West Yorkshire to start-up and grow thanks to a new programme from a group of partners, which includes Co-operatives UK. 

Co-operatives UK has teamed up with partners across West Yorkshire to deliver a new support programme, Business for Good West Yorkshire (BFGWY). 

The programme offers coaching, training and support to help people start-up or grow ‘alternative businesses’. This includes co-operatives, community or employee-owned organisations, social enterprises and those that have a social or environmental aim.  

It is open to anyone in Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds or Wakefield who has a business idea or to existing co-operatives, community businesses or social enterprises that want to grow or develop. 

Start-ups can receive expert advice from a local BFGWY enterprise coach, who can discuss business ideas and sign-post further support. People can also attend workshops dedicated to those with an idea for a start-up enterprise.  

Existing businesses, including co-operatives, can apply for a growth and resilience grant of up to £2,500.

Co-operatives and social enterprises can also apply to the Growth and Resilience programme delivered in partnership by Co-operatives UK and the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE). There are 20 places in total, with 10 places earmarked for people from co-operatives. As well as eight sessions, the programme includes peer-to-peer support, site visits and access to a wider network of support through the Business for Good programme. The programme is specifically designed to help grow the participating organisation’s impact and to create or safeguard jobs. 

Petra Morris, Co-operative Development Manager, Co-operatives UK, said:

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We’re proud to be a partner in Business for Good West Yorkshire, providing support to new and established co-operatives in this region.
– Petra Morris, Co-operative Development Manager, Co-operatives UK

"Co-operatives are alternative businesses that are owned and run by the communities they serve. They prioritise people and communities over profit. And they empower people to tackle the issues that are important to them, while creating a more sustainable local economy.

"There are already some excellent examples of thriving co-operatives in West Yorkshire that are having a positive impact. Equal Care Co-op in Calderdale improves social care by putting the power in the hands of both the care workers and those being cared for. Suma, in Elland, is the biggest equal pay co-operative in Europe. The wholesaler, which delivers more than 7,000 responsibly sourced products to businesses and communities across the UK and internationally, is completely owned and controlled by its workforce. LATCH in Leeds turns derelict houses into homes and empowers its tenants to transform their lives. 

"Other community businesses in West Yorkshire have taken over vital local services to keep them running, like Heptonstall Post Office and Village Shop. One has also been instrumental in saving Dewsbury Arcade, which is set to become the UK’s first community run shopping centre."

The 18-month Business for Good West Yorkshire programme has received £500,000 funding from the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The project meets the West Yorkshire Mayor’s pledge to support the regional economy and create jobs. 

Business for Good West Yorkshire is funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The UKSPF is led by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Business for Good is being led by TSL Kirklees, with local delivery partners Voluntary Action Leeds, SEE Ahead, Stir to Action and Coop Culture supported by national organisations Co-operatives UK and School for Social Entrepreneurs; in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, acting as Lead Authority for the Funds.

If you’re a co-operative or community business in West Yorkshire – or are thinking of starting one – keep an eye on opportunities available via the Business for Good West Yorkshire website, or Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

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