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Business for Good West Yorkshire

Business for Good West Yorkshire

Co‑operatives UK has teamed up with partners across West Yorkshire to deliver a new support programme – Business for Good West Yorkshire. 

The Business for Good West Yorkshire (BfGWY) programme offers coaching, training and support to help people in West Yorkshire start or grow ‘alternative businesses,' including co-operatives and community benefit societies. It’s open to those in West Yorkshire with a business idea, or in an existing co‑op or community business. 

Scroll down for support for start-ups and grants for existing businesses.

The Growth and Resilience Programme for West Yorkshire

Delivered in partnership between Co‑operatives UK and the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), this programme supports co‑ops and social enterprises to grow, reach new markets and network with like‑minded businesses in West Yorkshire. It also aims to develop resilience and leadership skills to help create and safeguard jobs. 

Who it’s for

People who are part of ‘alternative businesses:’ co‑ops, community businesses and social enterprises. Of the 20 places on the programme, 10 will be available to members of co‑operative and community benefit societies.

Programme timeline and structure

It will run over eight weeks from May to October 2024, with a break over summer, and will include: 

  • Online learning sessions led by from experts and leaders from the alternative business sector who will share their stories and the challenges they’ve overcome.
  • Action learning sets – smaller group work with a trained facilitator, designed to support participants to share successes and challenges and learn from each other. 
  • 1:1 peer support – buddying up with another programme participant to share ways of working and common challenges. 
  • In-person site visits (over one day) featuring a tour of multiple alternative businesses and peer networking opportunities.
  • Access to a diverse network and the opportunity to build relationships with SSE, Co‑operatives UK and leaders from other ‘alternative’ businesses. 
  • In-person celebration event, to celebrate participants’ achievements at the end of the programme in October 2024. 
  • Access to a wider network of support through the Business for Good West Yorkshire programme, including specialist business coaches. 

Topics to be covered

The learning will be tailored to participants’ needs. Potential topics include: 

  • Business strategy planning and income streams  
  • Personal resilience and wellbeing  
  • Leadership  
  • Increasing financial resilience  
  • Environmental impact and decarbonisation  
  • Reaching new markets  
  • Governance and HR  
  • Social investment  

Costs and funding support

The programme is FREE to attend for successful applicants. A small bursary is available to support attendance. Travel and expenses will also be provided for the in‑person site visits. 

Who is eligible to apply?

Applications are welcome from members of co‑ops based in West Yorkshire who have been trading for at least 18 months and can provide financial records, legal structure and governance documents – and demonstrate an interest in growing their business.    

Applications are particularly encouraged from ​businesses led by disabled people, LGBTQIA+ and black and minoritised communities​ – and people with lived experience of the issues their co‑op or community business is addressing.  

Application guidance and deadlines

Read the application guidance notes here. To apply, click on the application form here. The deadline to apply is midday on Friday 19 April.​ ​All applications will be assessed by SSE and Co‑operatives UK and places will be offered by the end of April. ​You can also see a preview of the online application questions here

Join our webinar to find out more

SSE and Co‑operatives UK will be hosting a webinar to share more about the programme on Wednesday 3 April at 2pm. Please register to attend here

Growth and Resilience Programme – Application Guidance | Application Form 

Support for start-ups 

Expert coaching

Those with an idea for a co‑op or community business can apply for support from one of five experienced Enterprise Coaches working in different parts of West Yorkshire. These coaches will work with you to explore your ideas or challenges, develop a plan and agree goals. Find a coach here.  

Start-up workshops

Join FREE online, interactive start-up workshops with Helen Hoyle from BfGWY partners SEE Ahead. Workshops cover a number of topics including: Developing Your Business Idea, Setting up an Alternative Business, Legal Structures, Governance and more. Find out more here

Support for existing co-ops and community businesses

Expert coaching

Get support from one of five experienced Enterprise Coaches working in different parts of West Yorkshire. These coaches will work with you to develop your business. Find a coach here.  

Growth and resilience grants

Co‑ops and community businesses over 18 months old can apply for up to £2,499 to grow and create new jobs, address challenges, adopt new technology, target new markets or change processes. Find out more here

The programme’s funders and providers

Business for Good West Yorkshire is funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which is led by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.  

It is being led by TSL Kirklees, with local delivery partners Voluntary Action Leeds, SEE Ahead, Stir to Action and Co‑op Culture, supported by national organisations Co‑operatives UK and the School for Social Entrepreneurs – in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, acting as Lead Authority for the Funds.  

Find out more

Business for Good West Yorkshire – Website  | Facebook | LinkedIn

The Growth and Resilience programme for West Yorkshire
Join this FREE webinar on Wednesday 3 April at 2pm to find out more
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