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M&S and Power to Change launch community business challenge

Marks & Spencer and Power to Change have launched a support programme for Bradford businesses to receive specialist skills training and up to £10,000 in grant funding.

Successful applicants of the M&S Community Business Challenge will win specialist business development support from M&S – covering everything from visual merchandising to supply chain management to finance – together with a grant 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 Bradford, and be an incorporated organisation that has ideally been trading for at least 12 months.

As part of the application process, businesses are also asked to encourage support from local people and demonstrate how they are making a difference to the community.

Applications are now open and will close on September 22 2019. The application form and further information can be accessed via the Community Business Challenge website here.

The School for Social Entrepreneurs are working with Power to Change and M&S to support delivery of the programme.

Sam Haigh, Bradford store manager at M&S, said: ‘This is a great opportunity for community businesses across Bradford and I’m excited the programme is being brought to the area.

‘I urge businesses to get involved and demonstrate the positive difference they are making to communities in the city.’

In June, Nicola Steuer, managing director of the School for Social Entrepreneurs wrote in NewStart about how she believes social enterprise can play a key role in reshaping ailing high streets, stepping into spaces where private businesses are no longer viable.

‘Social enterprises and community businesses aren’t silver bullets for the high street, but they are uniquely placed to help fill the void left by the departure of traditional bricks and mortar retailers,’ she wrote.

‘Across the country there are examples of social entrepreneurs with big ideas making a difference in places where private business is no longer viable.’

Photo Credit – Tim Green/Flickr

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