£150,000 of new funding offered for London businesses

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Power to Change and Co-operatives UK, supported by the Mayor of London, has launched a new funding pilot designed to boost the capital’s high streets and civic centres.

Delivered by community organisations, Power to Change and Co-operatives UK, the funding forms a small part of the Mayor of London’s £6.6 billion Recovery Fund to support businesses affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The support, which totals £150,000, can be used by existing and new London organisations that want to launch a community business.

Supporting grassroots innovation across the capital, the programme is designed to equip organisations with the knowledge to refine their business and governance models, and take the next steps in successfully raising alternative finance, such as community shares.

London-based organisations can apply for up to 8 days worth of development support, up to a value of £4,000, including specialist expertise to develop a business plan, governance structure and more, to transfer their operations to a community business model.

Select participants and existing community businesses who plan on developing Community Share offers can apply for development grants of up to £10,000 to cover costs associated with the Standard Mark assessment and promotional spend for the share offer campaign itself.

For community organisations, looking to apply for Boosting Community Business London the programme opens for applications between Friday 29 January and Friday 19 February.

For community businesses based in London, the programme opens for applications between Friday 2 April and Monday 12 April.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m committed to doing everything I can to support London’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This new scheme will give community groups the skills to build sustainable businesses, strengthen our high streets and help local areas across our city become more resilient. This is part of wider package of measures funded by my £6.6m Recovery Fund, which will help London meet some of the challenges we face as a result of the pandemic.

“London’s communities are full of innovation and creativity – I look forward to seeing the solutions they create to help the capital emerge even stronger from this incredibly challenging time.”

Vidhya Alakeson, CEO of Power to Change, added: “Just like many towns across the UK, the capital’s high streets have been struggling with an identity crisis for decades resulting in declining footfall.

“The pandemic has created a seismic shift in our relationship with our local areas, with many people rediscovering, or discovering for the first-time, what’s right on their doorstep. But if we are to harness this renewed interest and return our high streets to the thriving civic centres they once were, we need a very different approach.”