The Community Enterprise Checker and funding opportunities through Power to Change

Published on November 8, 2014 in Blog
Power to Change
Some of you may have been to one of the UK roadshows Locality (with the Plunkett Foundation and UnLtd) ran recently to talk about Power to Change. Through Power to Change, a new stream of funding will be open for enterprises from early next year through the Big Lottery Fund. With £150m as potentially available, and some go-early investment opportunities, we are encouraging Transition Enterprises to get involved.

Those community groups and enterprises involved in the roadshows have been wonderfully diverse, as you would expect from the UKs enterprising change makers. As Tony Armstrong, CEO of Locality reports:

We’ve seen groups wanting to turn village pubs and shops into community enterprises, some branching out into events management and running local markets, arts centres and city farms. Others want to take over local assets and transform high street premises: Love Withington Baths are determined to save the local Victorian baths and LS14 Trust are expanding from their digital lounge. So many brilliant ideas are emerging including a community kitchen in Manchester for cookery classes, and (as if Yorkshire had not already given the world enough…) the production of the first UK caviar in Yorkshire!

Transition Enterprises can use the Community Enterprise Checker which reviews your situation against the ‘five pillars’ of investment readiness. It then generates a useful summary report with key recommendations. The ‘five pillars’ of investment readiness in the Community Enterprise Checker:

Power to Change Roadshow Leeds

Power to Change Roadshow Leeds

  • Governance and leadership
  • Market potential
  • Financial performance
  • Financial control
  • Quality and impact

Transition Enterprises may be eligible for support through the Power to Change program starting in early 2015. It isn’t known exactly how the support will operate, but at the moment there looks to be a large element of funding to pay development workers to help your enterprise become “investment ready”. This support could include advice on governance and structures, business planning, financial planning etc.

Any Enterprise wishing to access this support must complete the Community Enterprise Checker to assess their development needs prior to being interviewed by the Power to Change team.  It is recommended that if you already have a development worker in mind for your enterprise, that you complete the diagnostic tool with their assistance. Whilst the program has yet to start, enterprises are being encouraged to complete the diagnostic.

The current business support partnership (comprising Locality, the Plunkett Foundation and UnLtd) will be carrying out 100 business diagnostics over the next few months from those submitting information through the Community Enterprise Checker – with 35 organisations subsequently receiving additional business support to get them ‘ready to go’ as case studies in advance of the Power to Change Trust opening for business. It is also worth noting that the information provided by enterprises across the UK will help Power to Change to better understand the needs of the community enterprise sector, in advance of the funds launch in early 2015.

Fundraising Workshop at Transition Network Roadshow St Andrews

Fundraising Workshop at Transition Network Roadshow St Andrews

We know that finding the right type and quantity of investment finance is a challenge for many new community enterprises. To help address this, the REconomy Project has just started a piece of work to identify all the relevant (national level) sources of investment including grants like this one, as well as debt and equity options. We’ll turn this into a useful guide aimed at community enterprises emerging from the Transition Network (and elsewhere!) We will continue to keep a close eye on Power to Change and feed info out through the REconomy Project. In the meantime, you can register on the Community Enterprise Checker, keep an eye on #powertochange on social media and register with the Power to Change network directly for updates and info.


Post updated with additional information: 12 November 2014

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