£150,000 of funding is available for community businesses in London, as part of a scheme to boost the capital's high streets and civic centres.
Professional business support, advice and mentoring worth up to £10,000 is available for organisations run by local people for the benefit of local people.
Boosting Community Business London provides funding to enable community groups to set-up and grow community businesses in their local area. It is delivered by community business champions, Power to Change and Co-operatives UK with support from the Mayor of London.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said, "I’m committed to doing everything I can to support London’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. This new scheme will give community groups the skills to build sustainable businesses, strengthen our high streets and help local areas across our city become more resilient. This is part of wider package of measures funded by my £6.6m Recovery Fund, which will help London meet some of the challenges we face as a result of the pandemic."
Growing community business
Community businesses like Wolves Lane Horticultural Centre in Haringey are already providing their local areas with vital services and preserving much loved community assets.
Formerly a plant nursery run by the council, today Wolves Lane is thriving community business delivering an innovative food growing hub run by the local community. Alongside a regular community market, the hub runs a locally grown veg box scheme and is a much loved ‘mini-Eden’ with landmark glasshouses and resident terrapins, koi carp, and tropical plants.
What support is available?
London based organisations interested in setting up a community businesses can apply for up to eight days of bespoke business support, mentoring and training worth up to £4,000. The support is also open to existing businesses looking to convert to a community business.
In addition, grants of up to £10,000 are available to support the development of community share offers. Community shares are a popular approach to raising finance, in which local people invest often small sums of money and become co-owners of vital local enterprises – from pools to pubs, community housing to heritage buildings.
Organisations participating in the programme who develop an accredited community share offer may be eligible for up to £100,000 of further equity investment from Power to Change. Whilst groups taking on heritage assets on high streets could apply for £50,000 equity match via the Architectural Heritage Fund.
Empowering local people
Community businesses are profit generating organisations, run by and trading for the benefit of local people. They are proven to bring resilience, stability and economic benefits to local places and high streets - 56p of every pound spent in a community business stays in the local community.
The pilot is designed to empower local people to establish socially trading business and services that their local communities want and need. It will also help them to take on the sustainable management and ownership of locally important assets by supporting fundraising through community shares.
The pilot forms part of the Mayor of London, Power to Change and Co-operative UK’s individual Covid-19 recovery and renewal schemes, designed to support their communities during and beyond the pandemic.
Applications for start-up support open on 29 January and close on 12 March 2021 (the deadline has been extended), and development grants applications open in April.