- M&S and Power to Change join forces to launch Community Business initiative
- Local community businesses invited to apply for a package of support including business development and funding
M&S and Power to Change, the independent charitable trust dedicated to supporting thriving local communities, have launched a new business support programme for Plymouth, offering local businesses the chance to apply for free skills training and up to £10,000 of grant funding.
Successful applicants of the M&S Community Business Challenge will win specialist business development support from M&S, together with grants from Power to Change, to help nurture and grow their community businesses. Those that apply must meet Power to Change’s definition of a community business, have a primary area of impact within Plymouth, and be an incorporated organisation that has ideally been trading for at least 12 months.
A number of information sessions about the challenge are being held across the region by the Real Ideas Organisation, Power to Change’s local partner in Plymouth. The sessions are taking place at Devonport Guildhall (10.00am-12.30pm on Wednesday 20th March and Tuesday 2nd April, and 2.00pm-4.30pm on Thursday 4th April), and Ocean Studios (2.00pm – 4.30pm on Friday 29th March). There will also be a webinar for potential applicants on Tuesday 19th March from 2.30pm until 3.30pm.
Allison Jenkins, M&S Head of Region for the South West, said: “This is a great opportunity for businesses across Plymouth and I’m excited that the programme is being brought to the area. I urge community businesses to get involved and if they require any further information, to make the most of the in-person information sessions.”
Mark Gordon, Director of Communications and Partnerships at Power to Change, added: “We believe that community businesses have the power to transform lives, and in Plymouth the movement is already happening. From clothing factories to pubs, the city is full of inspirational community businesses, powered by inspirational people with true entrepreneurial spirit. We are delighted to be focusing the launch of our new partnership with M&S here and can’t wait to see what the people of Plymouth have in store.”
Applications close at 6pm on Friday 12th April 2019. Applicants are advised that as part of the application process they are asked to encourage and demonstrate support from local people. Evidence of local support will also comprise part of the final pitch to a judging panel on 30th May 2019.
At the interactive pitching event, the judges will reveal the businesses chosen to receive support from M&S staff and funding in 2019. For more information about the programme, visit www.communitybusinesschallenge.co.uk