The Community Business Trade Up Programme

Helping you to improve your local area

large group of people in a greenhouse

Applications are open!

Are you running a project or organisation that exists to improve a local neighbourhood, village or town?   Do you want to recover and rebuild income from trading and pandemic proof your business?

This FREE support programme will give you the head-space, support network and funding needed to adapt, digitise and diversify your income from trading.  You’ll become a stronger, more sustainable community business as a result of this programme.

We welcome applications from all community businesses with priority given to those who meet any of these criteria:

  • BAME-led (over 51% BAME leadership in staff or trustees/directors)
  • Located in and giving support to black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) local communities
  • Located in and giving support to very deprived or disadvantaged local communities

Key benefits

  • A free learning programme, to help you recover and rebuild your income and impact
  • Up to £10,000 Trade Back grant
  • An opportunity to meet regularly with other people running organisations like yours, so you can help each other out

    3 icons depicting learning programme, trade back grant up to £10k and peer network

How to apply

Register for the application guidance notes and we’ll send you the online application form.

Read the guidance notes and apply before Wednesday 2nd December 2020

Information webinar

Want to find out if this programme is right for you?

Join us for a webinar on Thursday 15th October at 10.30am

Sign me up for the webinar

Image shows three people enjoying tea party alongisde a quote from Zaffer Khan, One Voice Blackburn

Programme benefits

  • Grow a stronger, more sustainable community business or project
  • Recover and rebuild your income from trading and sales
  • Benefit from time to reflect and map out next steps
  • Improve your leadership and business skills
  • Build a local support network of other people running organisations like yours

Is this right for me?

This programme is open to ‘early stage’ community businesses in England – between 1-5 years old that are working towards these criteria:

  • Locally rooted – your organisation exists to benefit your local neighbourhood, village or town; your local area is at the heart of what you do
  • Accountable to the local community – you consult local people about what you do, and communicate with them
  • Trading for the benefit of the local community – you want to increase your income from trading by at least £6,000 in the next year, with profits re-invested to benefit your local community
  • Making a broad community impact – what you do engages different groups of people from your local area

infographic showing eligibility criteria and priorty place criteria

Diversity and inclusion

SSE and Power to Change are committed to the advancement of diversity, inclusion and equality. We encourage and welcome applications from community businesses from all backgrounds, which meet our grant requirements and are looking to make a real difference to the lives of their local communities.  We’re working with the Ubele Initiative to make sure this programme goes to those communities who need it the most.

We welcome applications from all community businesses with priority given to those supporting:

  • deprived communities
  • black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities
  • or are BAME led (with over 51% BAME leadership)

More about the programme impact

The Community Business Trade Up Programme is run in partnership with Power to Change. Together, we have already supported 300 community businesses and other projects improving their local area.

Community businesses on this programme typically increased their income from trading by 64% in one year.

 

Photo and quote from Jenni Gwiazdowski, a student of the programme, reading: "A lot of the learning is just being able to talk to people who get what I'm going through"

 

Main image courtesy of Amanda Stockley

FAQ

What will I learn?

The programme is a transformational experience that will push, challenge and support you.

Each programme will be co-designed with  students to ensure it is relevant to you.  Content will respond to the needs of community businesses through and beyond the new pandemic economy.   We’ll ensure an additional focus on digital skills -supporting you to make greater use of digital platforms for your activity and trading.

Likely topics include:
• Leadership and management
• Confidence and resilience
• Community–based board governance
• Legal and tax requirements, policies, contractual agreements
• Relationship and conflict management in a community context
• Building a community support base
• Social and community impact – measurement and evaluation
• Product development and pricing
• Marketing, building and retaining a customer base, branding and sales, on-line
presence
• Building a diverse and sustainable income mix
• Producing a realistic and useful business plan
• Negotiating and pitching
• Winning contracts
• Social investment
• Financial management (budgeting, financial accounting, management
accounting, cashflow)
• Building a staff and volunteer team and a great place to work

You’ll be in a group of around 10 other people at a similar stage to you, from all backgrounds. You’ll form an ‘action learning set’ that helps you reflect and develop in a trusted circle. These trusted relationships with peers are really important to our students: 19 in 20 students stay in touch with people they met at SSE after they finish our programmes.

Our learning programmes are very different to traditional teaching. We’re not about essays and academia. We believe in learning from other people’s stories. We’ll introduce you to experts to help you develop new skills. You’ll build a network of peers and professionals who can support you.

How do I apply?

Register for the guidance notes above and we’ll email you a link to complete an online application.

The deadline for applications is 1pm, Wednesday 2nd December.  Best of luck!

What counts as a "community business"? Am I eligible?

People on this programme run a really broad range of organisations, projects and businesses – including community centres and hubs, cooperatives, pubs and breweries, farm and food projects, clubs, venues and spaces, swimming pools, woodlands, and even a laundrette!

They call themselves lots of different things, but they all count as community businesses because they put their local community at the heart of what they do.

To be eligible, you must demonstrate that you’re working towards these criteria:

  • Locally rooted – your organisation exists to benefit your local neighbourhood, village or town; your local area is at the heart of what you do
  • Accountable to the local community – you consult local people about what you do, and communicate with them
  • Trading for the benefit of the local community – you want to increase your income from trading by at least £6,000 in the next year, with profits re-invested to benefit your local community
  • Making a broad community impact – what you do engages different groups of people from your local area

Read this blog about some of the people on the programme.

If you’re unsure contact Amber Sorrell, SSE programme manager at applications@sse.org.uk or call 020 3905 3573

 

What are the locations and dates?

The learning programme takes place from April 2021 to December 2021 (9 months). It is 12 learning days made up of study sessions and 4 Action Learning sessions.

The learning programme will be a mix of online and in person learning (where
possible in line with government guidelines around COVID-19).
Learning days may be broken down into shorter sessions over the programme

You’ll be grouped by geographical location so you can build valuable peer support between organisations in the same locality.

The learning programmes will be delivered by SSE’s teams located in these regions:
• North West
• Yorkshire & North East
• Midlands
• South West
• London

Choose your nearest location when you apply.

You can use your grant to cover travel costs.

What if I have accessibility needs, or cannot afford travel or childcare?

Please talk to us about this. There is a separate small fund held by the SSE to enable students who have particular needs such as support with childcare, travel costs, or other issues to access the programme. We are keen to enable people with disabilities and other access issues to come to our programmes. This will be negotiated individually with participants. If you do have specific needs and are concerned about this, please contact us to discuss.

How does the Trade Back grant work?

SSE has created the Trade Back grants in response to the Covid-19 crisis as we recognise that many organisations have lost trading income.

Trade Back grants match ‘pound-for-pound’ an increase in income from trading above Covid period levels.
For this programme the Trade Back grant is made up of two parts:

  • We’ll give you a £4,000 traditional grant to kick-start recovery efforts and support you to put into practice new ideas and initiatives.
  • You’ll then access an incentivised grant of up to £6,000 to accelerate growth by rewarding an increase in income from trading.  It’s similar to our Match Trading grants which match an increase in income from trading and sales, pound-for-pound.

Check out the video below, and read more about how Match Trading supports social entrepreneurs to increase their sales.

 

Match Trading was developed by the School for Social Entrepreneurs with the support of pioneer partners Lloyds Banking Group and The National Lottery Community Fund.

Further grants and support to improve your financial systems
• You’ll be offered a £750 grant if your organisation needs some additional support with improving their
financial systems.  There are 50 grants available.
• Plus you’ll get access to support materials and webinars to help with the financial management.

Is all this really free?

Power to Change is fully funding this programme, so there is no cost to you, and it is providing grants of up to £10,000 (a grant is money you don’t have to pay back). Power to Change is an independent charitable trust endowed by The National Lottery Community Fund. Its aim is to support community businesses in England to create better places.

Can I talk to someone to find out more?

Of course.  Before you apply, we recommend you read the application guidance which you can register for  in the ‘How to apply’ section above.

For general queries on the application process, eligibility criteria, contact Amber Sorrell, SSE programme manager at applications@sse.org.uk or call 0207 089 9120

You can also get in touch with your nearest regional team delivering this programme:

London                                amber.sorrell@sse.org.uk / 020 3905 3573

Midlands                           charles@ssemidlands.org / 07500 081 219

Yorkshire and North East      dena.dalton@sseyne.org.uk / 07880 675014

South West                          Sam.haydock@dartington.org / 01803 847066

North West                         LisaMairah@blackburnehouse.co.uk / 07944 013 854

General enquiries        applications@sse.org.uk /020 3905 3573

 

four women with bikes

 

Power to Change community business logoThe Ubele Initiative logo