Community businesses can pitch their ideas and win investment in Dragon’s Den-style competition


A charitable trust endowed with £150 million from the Big Lottery Fund is offering budding community businesses in Greater Manchester the chance to win a £6,000 award.

Power to Change has launched its Bright Sparks competition to help community businesses change their neighbourhoods for the better.

Three finalists from Greater Manchester will be invited to attend a Dragon’s Den style event at Victoria Warehouse in October and will pitch their ideas to a panel of experts. The ‘dragons’ will choose the best idea in Greater Manchester and the winner will be awarded £6,000 worth of expert business development support.

“If you are a budding community business in the Greater Manchester area with a great idea for how to improve your local area then do enter our competition,” says Vidhya Alakeson, Power to Change chief executive.

“With £6,000 worth of expert support up for grabs to make your bright spark of an idea a reality, this really is an opportunity too good to miss!

“Community businesses boost their local economies, create jobs, improve local people’s lives and make their local area a better place to live. This competition is all about helping new community businesses to thrive.”


Community businesses are hugely varied and can range from pubs, libraries and shops saved from closure to regeneration and employment projects that boost the local economy. What they have in common is that they are controlled by the community and invest their profits back in to the local area.

In Manchester, Ancoats Dispensary Trust is a great example of a community business. Local people rallied round to save this historic building from demolition and secured funding to bring it back into use. Once renovated, it will provide a unique venue for a range of community events and commercial space for local businesses.

To be eligible to enter the competition, your group must be based in Greater Manchester and able to show that your idea for a community business is run by or accountable to your local community and designed to benefit the area.

More information and details of how to apply available here


Manchester is a successful city, but there are many people that suffer. The I Love MCR Foundation helps raise vital funds to help improve the lives and prospects of people and communities across Greater Manchester – and we can’t do it without your help. So please donate or fundraise what you can because investing in your local community to help it thrive can be a massively rewarding experience. Thank you in advance!

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