Help for entrepreneurs from other organisations
This page points you to some useful resources that are offered by other organisations across the UK, some free and some for a fee.
It’s impossible to keep track of everything that’s offered by other organisations, it’s a bit overwhelming. So here we have tried to provide the ten that appear to have most to offer. This does not include regional or local offers of support, as we hope you can find out about these via your own Transition Initiative or other local enterprise support organisation.
If we’re missing something that others would find useful, or if our info is out of date, please let us know.
They provide really good, free, downloadable step by step guides to making your enterprise idea a reality, so you know what to expect and who to talk to at each stage of development. For advice on structures, call 0161 246 2900 or email them. Once your co‑op is up and running you can apply for membership.
Co-operatives UK are not to be confused with the Co-operative Group, a commercial entity that includes the supermarkets etc. However the 2 organisations do work together, and at the moment the Co-op Group’s Enterprise Hub offers 4 days of free business advisor time to fledgling/developing co-ops, using local independent business advisors. They also say that “Loans are available without security or personal guarantees”.
Making Local Food Work helps people to take ownership of their food and where it comes from by providing advice and support to community food enterprises across England, including farmers markets, community shops, buying groups etc. If you are involved in a community food enterprise or interested in starting one in your community, their practical guides and tools can help.
UnLtd offers a range of competitive awards programme that offers a complete package of funding and support to social enterpreneurs. This includes, for example, programmes for the under-21s, for the university-based, for digital solutions, for collaboration and peer-to-peer, or improving the local area.
Local United offers 9 different Action Packs that support setting up specific new social enterprises in a range of sectors including community-led renewables (hydro, AD, wind), transport, resource re-use and food inititatives.
SSE runs practical learning programmes aimed at helping develop the entrepreneur and their organisation simultaneously. Each programme combines specific elements designed to provide an intensive, complete package of support that meets the needs of social entrepreneurs. In their Impact Evaluation Report 2011, SEE suggests that their graduates’ enterprises “are 20% more likely to survive for five years than the average UK business”.
Pure Leapfrog provides social investment in the community energy sector. They provide low cost finance to UK projects, drawing on a credit facility from Big Society Capital. They also support international carbon reduction projects via carbon offsetting. They introduce affordable professional expertise, provided through a network of lawyers, accountants and other professional service providers.
Social Enterprise UK is the national body for social enterprise that undertakes research, provides information and tools, shares knowledge, build networks, raises awareness and campaigns to create a business environment where social enterprises can thrive.
ClearlySo works with promising social entrepreneurs to help them structure their investment proposition and translate their opportunity to impact investors (£300k+). They provide free business guides.
Locality provides the SOAR method to provide expert support, guidance and practical advice throughout the process of setting up and running a successful community enterprise. Many of the services are free of charge, and members always receive a discount where charges apply. They also provide a great summary of Community Rights.
Main photo credit: Brad at Localfoodsystems.org