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A collaboration between Co-operatives UK, Power to Change and the Mayor of London
Boosting community business London – application guidance

Eligibility criteria

To be considered for funding through the Boosting Community Business London programme your business must be registered or operating within a Greater London borough. 

You will need to clearly evidence how you meet each of our criteria below.

Most of the applications that we reject fail to evidence in their application form how they meet the four key features of a community business set out on this page. Before applying, please think carefully about whether you can demonstrate strong evidence for these four community business features. 

Criteria 1: Demonstrate the four key features of a community business

  • Locally rooted. They are rooted in a particular geographical place. They build on the strengths and assets of that place to address community needs.
  • Accountable to the local community. This can be demonstrated in many ways (e.g. membership structure, ownership, broad range of local trustees) but you must have evidence of regular community input into decision making. 
  • Trading for the benefit of the local community. They have a clear trading model and sell services and products in and around their local area. The way the business is run and the profits it makes are used to deliver local benefit.
  • Broad community impact. They engage with a variety of different groups in their community and deliver impact against a range of different community needs.

Not sure if your organisations is eligible? Watch the videos explaining the key features of a community business: 

Note: We cannot accept proposals that promote the advancement of religion or that are party political in nature. This does not prevent faith groups from applying for a project which has a charitable purpose other than the advancement of religion. 

Criteria 2: Operate for public benefit

For a project to be charitable, it needs to have both a charitable purpose and to be for the public benefit. Any private or personal benefit must be incidental and no more than a by‑product of meeting your public benefit. Returns from community shares are allowable. The Charity Commission provides more guidance on public benefit. 

Criteria 3: Share our impact goals 

Your project must be able to demonstrate at least one of the seven core impact areas below. If your application is successful, at the end of your project you will be asked to report against the impact area(s) you selected. 

  1. Reduce social isolation 
  2. Improve health and wellbeing 
  3. Increase employability 
  4. Create better access to basic services 
  5. Improve local environment 
  6. Enable greater community cohesion 
  7. Foster greater community pride and empowerment 

If your application is successful, at the end of your project you will be asked to report against the impact area(s) you selected and share your learning to help evaluate the programme overall. 

Criteria 4: You must be registered as a society

This means that your organisation is recognised as a legal entity in its own right, rather than as a collection of individuals. To issue a community share offer, you will need to be incorporated as one of the following: 

  1. Community benefit society
  2. Co‑operative society 
  3. Charitable community benefit society

What is a society? 

A business can register as either a co‑operative or a community benefit society under society law. Both are referred to as a ‘society’. 

Societies are administered by the Mutual Societies Registration Section of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The governing document of a society is known simply as the ‘Rules’. 

The society form is the only legal form available for businesses wishing to raise capital from the public in the form of community shares. 

More information about societies and how to register: