Applications for this programme have closed.

This programme is for community businesses affected by the pandemic.  Leaders gain the skills, resilience and peer support to manage change and increase impact in a time of uncertainty.  It’s short, high-impact, all online, with bite-sized content designed for the new normal.

Key features

  • FREE high-impact online learning programme made up of five half day sessions, plus 2 webinars in September 2020.
  • A network of other community businesses learning together and supporting each-other.
  • All learning content is tailored to the current challenges and opportunities facing community businesses due to Covid-19.

The programme is run by the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), in partnership with Power to Change.

You’ll be given a priority place if your community business:

  • Supports Black, Asian and/or minoritised ethnic communities (BAME) or is a BAME-led organisation
  • supports the arts, heritage or health & social care sectors
  • supports a deprived area in England

Our commitment to diversity, inclusion and accessibility

We recognise that discrimination of all sorts infiltrate every part of our society, and we are working hard to counter that wherever we find it. To that end, we actively encourage applications from people of all faiths, races, gender identities, sexual orientations, economic circumstances and backgrounds, as well as those from disabled communities.  No educational qualifications are needed to join our programmes.

We’ll make reasonable adjustments regarding accessibility to ensure all are welcomed onto the programme. Please get in touch – we’re happy to talk things through.

What you’ll learn

You’ll be in a group of 20 other community business leaders going through similar challenges and opportunities.  We aim to tailor the learning content so it best supports you at this crucial stage in the pandemic.

If you’ve lost income from trading, topics may include:

  • Digital: taking products, services and trading online
  • Personal & organisational resilience
  • Re-modelling and rethinking community business models
  • Securing diverse income streams
  • Recovery & contingency planning
  • Financial planning/modelling and cash-flow forecasts
  • Managing remote teams and volunteers
  • Developing networks: collaborating for community impact
  • Diversity and inclusion: reaching marginalised groups

If you’ve had an increase in demand for your services, topics may include:

  • Digital leadership: understanding digital needs, culture and strategy
  • Good governance
  • Scaling and replication
  • Achieving impact at scale
  • Adapting business models to new trading conditions
  • Financial planning/modelling and cash-flow forecasts
  • Managing remote teams and volunteers
  • Developing networks: collaborating for community impact
  • Diversity and inclusion: reaching marginalised groups

How you’ll learn with us

Our learning programmes are very different to traditional teaching. We’re not about essays and textbooks. We believe in action-led, hands-one learning from other people’s stories.

This programme is made up of three parts:

  1. Online peer learning sessions (5 x half day sessions) You’ll learn in a group with up to 20 other community business leaders. Sessions will include expert speakers, witnesses (experienced community business leaders) and group activities.
  2. Peer Support – You’ll bring your experiences to the group, and learn from the skills, experience, and networks of the other group members during learning sessions.
  3. Two webinars – We’ll cover key issues affecting community businesses during the Covid-19 crisis and in recovery. Topics may include ‘moving products and services online’ and ‘managing mental health and well-being implications’

Dates and location

All learning takes places online throughout September:

Cohort 1: Community businesses trading wholly or partially impacted by Covid-19

  • Monday 14 September 10.00am-1.00pm: Introductory session 
  • Monday 14 September 2.00pm-3.00pm: Webinar 1
  • Wednesday 16 September 10am-1pm: Learning block 1
  • Thursday 17 September 10am-1pm: Learning block 2 
  • Thursday 24 September 10am-1pm: Learning block 3 
  • Friday 25 September 10am-1pm: Learning block 4 
  • Wednesday 30 September 10am-11.30am: Webinar 2

Cohort 2: Community businesses experiencing a surge in demand

  • Monday 14 September 10.00am-1.00pm: Introductory session 
  • Monday 14 September 2.00pm-3.00pm: Webinar 1
  • Monday 21 September 10am-1pm: Learning block 1
  • Tuesday 22 September 10am-1pm: Learning block 2 
  • Monday 28 September 10am-1pm: Learning block 3 
  • Tuesday 29 September 10am-1pm: Learning block 4 
  • Wednesday 30 September 10am-11.30am: Webinar 2

Keep these September dates free in your diary if you can.

Is this right for you?

If you run a community business in England that’s received support from Power to Change before, then you’re definitely eligible to apply.

If you have not had support from Power to Change before, you’ll need to show how your community business meets these eligibility criteria in your application:

  • is locally rooted
  • generates income through trading, with profits reinvested to benefit the community
  • is accountable to its local community
  • has broad community impact

Click here for further details on these eligibility criteria.

Information for applicants

Thanks for applying.

You’ll find out if you have a place by Wednesday 9 September 2020, so keep the September dates free in your diary if you can.

Email Amber Sorrell, Programme Manager with queries at amber.sorrell@sse.org.uk.

Further support for community businesses

SSE also runs the Community Business Trade Up programme in partnership with Power to Change.  It’s a 9 month learning programme with up to £10,000 Match Trading grant.

Register interest for 2021/22

Visit Power to Change

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