£1,000 on offer for Mersey social businesses

A new programme being delivered by The Women’s Organisation is offering Liverpool city region social business and organisations free mentoring and up to £1,000 in cash. Jennie Lewis reports

Lisa McMullan
Lisa McMullan, director for development at The Women’s Organisation


A new support programme is offering social businesses and community-minded organisations operating in Liverpool city region free business mentoring and up to £1,000 in cash.

Being delivered by Liverpool social enterprise, The Women’s Organisation in partnership with Power to Change, the Financial Capability Improvement Academy has been designed to help organisations and businesses maximise their impact within the community, build their financial capabilities and develop strong support networks.

Up to three people from each organisation can join the programme and benefit from a series of specially curated workshops, peer mentoring and one-to-one support from a dedicated business adviser over seven days.

It aims to help participating businesses identify funders and revenue streams, focus on the needs of their communities post-COVID, and strengthen the opportunities for future collaborative working across their respective sectors.

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Tim Davies-Pugh, interim chief executive at Power to Change, said: “Right across the country, and particularly post pandemic, more and more businesses are altering the way they operate, prioritising local needs and taking action to make the places they live and work better.

“Community businesses improve our communities in a real and demonstrable way, from saving local shops and creating leisure facilities, to providing training and employment opportunities for local people and helping to build affordable housing.

“But in essence, community businesses can be any type of business that trades products and services such as shops, transport, farms, hubs, pubs, gardens or leisure centres, run by local people for the benefit of the local community.

“Fundamentally, community businesses are locally rooted, accountable to the community, trading for community benefit and creating local impact through jobs and investment. If your organisation reflects those three core values, we want to hear from you.”


Tim Davies-Pugh
Tim Davies-Pugh, interim chief executive at Power to Change


Lisa McMullan, director for development at The Women’s Organisation, described the Financial Capability Improvement Academy as “vitally important project”. She added: “Community businesses across the Liverpool city region provide valuable services to communities and employment opportunities across all six boroughs.

But those businesses are faced with a growing number of challenges, particularly as we recover from the pandemic. Community businesses should be integral to any strategy to advance or recover.

“They are the foundation of our local ecosystem, essential in terms of empowering and harnessing local talent, as well as attracting and sustaining local investment.

“Across the UK, we are concerningly close to losing many of those community businesses that are the lifeblood of local economies and help create a sense of belonging and community cohesion. We believe we must do all we can to preserve, protect and promote them if we stand any chance of a successful recovery post-pandemic.”

Power to Change is a Charitable Trust operating in England, created in 2015 with a £150m endowment from the National Lottery Community Fund Big Lottery Fund. It is committed to helping communities revive local assets, protect the services people rely on, and address local needs through supporting community businesses.

The Women’s Organisation is an award-winning social enterprise based in Liverpool, directly providing enterprise development services and learning programmes to individuals and organisations across Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester. It has helped to start and scale more than 4,000 businesses since it was established in 1996.

The Financial Capability Improvement Academy is being delivered by The Women’s Organisation at its headquarters at 54 St James Street, as part of Power to Change’s Financial Innovation Pilot programme.

For more information on the programme, or to apply, email hello@thewo.org.uk

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