Bright Ideas Fund

The Bright Ideas Fund will reopen on 26 February 2020

The Bright Ideas Fund supports new community business ideas through the start-up and planning stages with tailored business support, to the implementation stage with grants of up to £15,000.

The Bright Ideas Fund is funded by Power to Change, the independent trust supporting community businesses in England, and delivered by Locality, the national network for community organisations, in partnership with Co-operatives UK, the Plunkett Foundation and Groundwork UK.

There will be additional funding rounds in:
• August – September 2020,
• February 2021 – March 2021.

Register for the Bright Ideas Fund webinar

How to make a strong application for the Community Business Bright Ideas Fund.

In this webinar, you’ll find out more about the fund including who can apply, what a community business is, what you can apply for and how support is delivered. We will also cover the application process including what makes a strong application.

This webinar is an opportunity to hear from Power to Change, Locality and a grantee of the Bright Ideas Fund, to tell you how the support has assisted their community business.

Register to attend the round 7 webinar on 3 March at 1:30pm.

How to apply for funding

1. Read the guidance notes

Please read the guidance notes thoroughly before applying. They will help you to decide whether you are eligible for the community business idea you have in mind and whether the Power to Change Community Business Bright Ideas programme is right for you.

The guidance notes include information about the types of community businesses that Bright Ideas is designed to support, as well as the criteria that will be used to assess applications.

The guidance notes also include the application form questions along with information that will help you to complete the application form.

Download the guidance notes - PDF

2. Complete the eligibility checker

You must complete the eligibility checker in order to apply for the Bright Ideas Fund. The checker will determine whether you are eligible to apply for the funding.

The eligibility checker will open on 26 February 2020.

The eligibility checker will close at 5pm on 6 April.

3. Fill in the application form

If you have successfully completed the eligibility checker, you will receive an email that includes a link to the application form.

You can see what questions the application form will include by reading the guidance notes.

The Bright Ideas Fund application will open on 26 February 2020.

You will have until midnight on 7 April 2020 to submit your application.

There will be additional funding rounds in:
• September – October 2020,
• February – March 2021.


Who can apply?

In 2018, Power to Change is committing an additional £0.7m to help launch a further 40 inspiring, locally rooted and community-led businesses.

As before, community groups, associations and organisations who have a good idea for a community business but need advice and a small amount of revenue funding to develop, test and get to the stage of launching their community business can apply.

To be eligible to apply for the Bright Ideas Fund, you must:

  • Be setting up a community business.
  • Be based in England
  • Be an incorporated or unincorporated organisation, but not an individual
  • Have been established for five years or less
  • Have a charitable purpose
  • Ensure your idea is for community benefit
  • Share Power to Change’s impact goals
  • Make your community business accessible and inclusive
Find out more about eligibility in the guidance notes - PDF

What can you apply for?

Bright Ideas will provide successful organisations with:

  • Business development support
  • Grant funding of up to £15,000
  • Learning and peer networking
Find out what you can apply for in the guidance notes - PDF

When does the Bright Ideas Fund close?

The Bright Ideas Fund application will reopen on 26 February 2020.

There will be additional funding rounds in:
• August – September 2020,
• February 2021 – March 2021.


Download the guidance notes

What does the Bright Ideas fund offer?

  1. Community business development support
    Up to 12 days of business development support from Locality, Plunkett Foundation, or Co-operatives UK. The support will be structured in a way that best meets your needs and could involve working one to one or in group sessions with your leadership team. Topics covered could include:

    • incorporation, legal structures and governance
    • community engagement and accountability
    • business planning
    • financial modelling
    • market research
    • community shares
    • getting ready to trade
    • securing and developing an asset
  2. Grant funding
    The opportunity to apply for a grant of up to £15,000 which can be spent on specific activities to develop your community business idea.
  3. Learning and peer networking
    Access to online resources, thematic webinars and the opportunity to visit and learn from existing community businesses.

How the Bright Ideas Fund has helped others

In previous rounds, the Bright Ideas Fund has helped communities save heritage assets, such as a grade II listed former council-run swimming Baths in Balsall Heath, Birmingham. The baths are now open and operating with the support of 50 local volunteers.

The Bright Ideas Fund also helped St Ann’s Development Trust get investment-ready. This led to them teaming up with the London Mayor to purchase a former hospital site in Haringey. It ensures that 50% of homes will be affordable, and residents will be involved in every stage of the development process.

Bright Ides also helped the Archibald Corbett Community Library, Arts and Heritage Centre (ACCLAHC), become a financially sustainable Community Centre.

The Bright Ideas Fund also helped establish a three year funding stream for Torridon Road Library.

The Bright Ideas Fund has also helped turn the crumbling Radcliffe Market Hall into the thriving heart of the community. 

See how the Bright Ideas Fund has helped other organisations

More questions?

If you have further questions about the Bright Ideas Fund you can:

Download the guidance notes

Visit our FAQs page

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