The West Midlands Social Economy Business Support programme is aimed at developing the business skills of Social Enterprises, Community Owned Businesses, Cooperatives and Charity Trading Arms to help them grow, become more sustainable and increase the impact they have in addressing inequalities.
This programme is funded by the UK Government and the West Midlands Combined Authority from funds provided from the Commonwealth Games Legacy Fund.
It is part of the West Midlands Combined Authorities commitment to inclusive growth and the government’s commitment to levelling up. The programme will be open to any of those Social Economy organisations who want to grow their trading income to achieve their goals.
This will support over 160 Social Economy organisations across develop the skills and confidence they need to grow, access public sector contracts and social investment.
The programmes being offered are:
- Start your growth journey – for organisations with a turnover between £15k to £50k pa. This comes with a grant of £2000 per participant conditional on levels of attendance. 42 places will be offered. This will be delivered by Enterprise Nation in partnership with becleaps (aka Birmingham Enterprise Community). Apply Here
- Build your growth platform – for organisations with a turnover between £50k to £100k pa. A grant of up to £5,000 per participant will be available, subject to increased trading income. 21 places will be offered. This will be delivered by Locality. Apply Here
- Grow your business – for organisations with a turnover between £100k to £500k. A grant of up to £10,000 per participant will be available, subject to increased trading income.42 places will be offered. Delivered by Aston University/Business School. Apply Here
- Accelerate your growth- for organisations with a turnover in excess of £500k pa. A grant of up to £20,000 per participant will be available, subject to increased trading income.15 places will be offered. Delivered by Aston University/Business School. Apply Here
In addition to a structured training programme in key business skills, each participant will receive expert one to one coaching, mentoring and support from the School for Social Entrepreneurs.
- In addition, an Investment & Procurement readiness programme will be offered to at least 40 organisations who wish to take on contracts and secure the working capital needed to service these. This will be delivered by Enterprise Nation in partnership with becleaps (aka Birmingham Enterprise Community). Recruitment for this begins in March.
This is just the first phase in a 10-year programme of support that will look deeper into key areas such as Social Investment, Marketing, Social Impact measurement, etc and tackle challenges that are unique to specific sub sectors such as Community owned businesses, Cooperatives, Minority led businesses and other sectors
WMCA also launched its more mainstream Business Growth West Midlands service, which offers a range of business advice, skills, funding and finance options across the region to all sectors – including Social Economy organisations.
In addition to growing the social economy at a regional level, WMCA with the support of the Commonwealth Games Legacy funds and Power to Change, we will be investing in specific places where is a need and where social economy activity is evident. This will cover 8 locations initially, where a lead organisation will be funded to bring together local stakeholders and the wider community to create an action plan that will be able to grow the local social and circular economy.
These places and lead organisations are:
- Birmingham - Perry Common, Wyrley Birch and Erdington – Witton Lodge Community Association
- Birmingham – Digbeth - iSE
- Birmingham - Handsworth - Legacy West Midlands
- Coventry - Foleshill, Hillfields and Wood End – Coventry & Warwickshire CDA
- Dudley – St Thomas’s Quarter, Dudley – Provision House
- Sandwell – West Bromwich town centre - SWEDA
- Solihull – Kingshurst – The Colebridge Trust
- Walsall - Palfrey Ward - Urban Hax
- Wolverhampton – City Centre South – Access2Business
Contact the lead organisation if you live or work in those locations and want to be involved.