What is a community micro-enterprise (small business)?
A community micro-enterprise (or CME) is a small enterprise or venture offering flexible and person-centred services or support. Local people helping other local people and anybody can start one.
Community micro-enterprises are set up in many different and creative ways such as sole trader, partnership, small business, social enterprise, charity or voluntary organisation. Community micro-enterprises also provides local employment and volunteering opportunities.
Community micro-enterprises can offer a range of different services and supports to people in their area. This can include:
- help at home and homecare
- day and evening activities
- help to stay connected
- leisure activities
- training and employment
We have commissioned Community Catalysts (link opens in new window) to work with us and other local partners to develop community micro-enterprises across Central Bedfordshire. The project started in January 2018 and has been successful in developing around 60 community micro-enterprises to establish, supporting around 300 local people each week to have choice and control in how their care and support is organised with a strong focus on enabling local people to live life to the full.
The development programme is coordinated by our local Community Catalyst, Alistair Bucknall, working with local people that want to develop small social businesses, offering personalised care and support to older people and people with disabilities in their local area.
As well as helping people to set up new enterprise, Community Catalysts will also advise small groups and organisations already established in Central Bedfordshire and looking to diversify or extend what they offer to support adults with care and support needs in the area.
Work will start in the Ivel Valley where increasing the number and range of homecare options available to local people is a real priority. As well as helping people to set up new enterprises, Community Catalysts will also advise small groups and organisations already established in Central Bedfordshire and looking to diversify or extend what they offer.
How Community Catalysts operate
Community Catalysts works hard to recognise local strengths and actively build on things that work well. Alistair would really like to connect with community, third and public-sector organisations, key stakeholders and supporting professionals who have an interest in the project.
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, running a community micro-enterprise might be for you. Community Catalysts can:
- offer you a friendly and supportive point of contact to explore ideas
- support you to develop your community enterprise
- give you practical information on regulation, training and opportunities in the health and social care sector
- direct you to other organisations who can help
I have always had an entrepreneurial drive to work for myself and as my children got older and all went to school, I was looking to do something based in the community that enabled me to help people in my local area. I approached the career advisor in Biggleswade and as part of the meeting was told about Community Catalysts. I went on to meet (the local Catalyst) Alistair. We had a few meetings and before I knew it, I had my own business working hours that fit around my family life and, most importantly, supporting people in my local community.
Kelly Slater, Together – CME
Get in touch
Contact Alistair Bucknall, the local Community Catalyst, for more information about the project.
Telephone: 07741 260675