Ground-breaking collaboration to boost the social economy in Oxford

We’re excited to be part of a new collaboration with Aspire Oxfordshire Community Action Groups (CAG) Oxfordshire, and OSEP, securing a £35k grant from Oxford City Council through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK, investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills.

“At Oxford City Council, we are committed to making the local economy fairer for everyone. This initiative directly supports community businesses and entrepreneurs. In addition, the support for community focused start-ups comes from peers, rather than top-down.” 


Our joint initiative, which will take place over 6 months, will be guided by a set of comprehensive aims and objectives designed to bolster Oxford’s social economy and foster positive impacts on the local economy, society, and environment. The key components of the project include:

Direct Support for Grass-Roots Community Businesses and Community Entrepreneurs:

The grant will be utilised to provide direct support to grass-roots community businesses and community entrepreneurs. This support aims to strengthen their foundations and enhance their capacity to contribute positively to the local economy, society, and environment.

Development of a Peer-led Support Group for the Social Trading Sector and Social Economy:

The programme will focus on the establishment of a peer-led support group for the social trading sector and social economy. This initiative aims to create a supportive community where knowledge and experiences can be shared, fostering growth and sustainability.

Local Funding Model Exploration:

The project will explore the development of a local funding model to ensure sustainability and resilience within the social economy. This innovative approach seeks to create a self-sustaining ecosystem that can support the growth of local enterprises.

The collaboration reflects a strategic alliance that maximises the collective impact of enterprising charities, social enterprises, and purposeful businesses in Oxfordshire. In delivering this specialist support, the project will work closely with other, well-established partners, such as the Owned by Oxford partnership, to continue signposting to the wealth of mainstream and local support services and resources.

To grow a more inclusive social economy, we know that tailored business development support for start-up community businesses and social enterprises is vital. Co-operative Futures is pleased to be working in partnership on this project to provide this kind of support. We are planning to train and work alongside local social entrepreneurs and community members, so that they can start new businesses and take control of community assets.


As part of the project Co-operative Futures will be delivering:

Tailored training courses / skills share sessions on co-operative business development for ambassadors from Black/Global majority-led Community Anchors from the Owned by Oxford partnership.

Packages of intensive co-operative development support for community businesses, particularly focused on business ideas resulting from the above training & referrals.