Community businesses are led by local people, bringing benefits directly to the community and local area.

A community business can be shops, farms, pubs or call centres, and many other types of business. What they all have in common is that they are accountable to their community and that the profits they generate deliver positive local impact.

These are the four main aspects of a community business:

Locally rooted: They are rooted in a particular geographical place and respond to its needs. For example, that could be high levels of urban deprivation or rural isolation.

Trading for the benefit of the local community: They are businesses. Their income comes from things like renting out space in their buildings, trading as cafes, selling produce they grow or generating energy.

Accountable to the local community: They are accountable to local people, for example through a community shares offer that creates members who have a voice in the business’s direction.

Broad community impact: They benefit and impact their local community as a whole. They often morph into the hub of a neighbourhood, where all types of local groups gather, for example to access broadband or get training in vital life skills.

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Community business case studies