Original post from the Power to Change blog – published here.
Power to Change’s Community Business Market report for 2018 launched today. The report is based on an improved research method involving a survey of 300 respondents and analysis of secondary data. The report contains vital information about the size, scope and structure of the market and the amazing work community businesses do. Below is a short list of the top things you need to know about community business in England:
- The community business market is substantial
There are an estimated 7,800 community businesses operating in England. The 2017 estimate of 6,600 is considered to be an under-estimation. In 2018 the estimated total market income is £1.05 billion, with total assets worth £0.75 billion – broadly in line with last year. These businesses are estimated to employ 33,600 paid staff and involve 125,200 volunteers. The largest grouping of businesses is venues, comprising community hubs and village halls and making up 34% of all businesses in the market.
- Community businesses are confident
The confidence of the community business sector continues to grow. In 2018 nearly two-thirds (66%) of community business representatives responding to the survey were confident about the business’ financial prospects for the year ahead, up from 63% in 2017 and 47% in 2016.
- Community businesses are having a positive social impact
Community businesses told us that they are most likely to have an impact on reducing isolation in their community (84%) and increasing community cohesion (83%). This is central to the ethos of community businesses – that they are supportive of local people and exist to make a tangible, positive difference to peoples’ lives.
- Community businesses are innovative
Community businesses are optimistic that in the next 12 months their trading income will increase (75%) compared to grant funding (48%). The report finds that that community businesses intend to increase their trading opportunities by expanding or diversifying their current offer.
- Community businesses need support
The report finds that support from local government is considered by community businesses to be the most valued among other external sources. In addition, support around digital marketing strategies to engage supporters and service users is also invaluable for some.
See the full report for more details.