Social enterprises are businesses that trade to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment. They make their money from selling goods and services in the open market, but they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community. The legal form that many social enterprise companies chose to take is the Community Interest Company – or CIC – which obliges them to ensure that their profits are reinvested into the community (or back into the business).
Levenshulme Market CIC was formed as a social enterprise because we firmly believe that a market alone cannot make our high street great again – to do that will take determination, investment, entrepreneurial ideas and collaboration. As a CIC we seek to do that by investing in our community – the community in this case being the high street retailers and potential retailers – and seeking to understand and address the challenges that they face. We are also greatly invested in the “community” of Levenshulme – it’s residents and stakeholders, they are our customers after all, although we generally do not fund or lead on large projects that benefit those residents directly where the high street environment is not involved.
To date we have been involved in three major projects to improve the high street environment in Levenshulme:
Levenshulme Market Fund – We launched our first ever Market Fund in January 2015 and awarded £15,000-worth of grants to people who wanted to make a difference to Levenshulme high street or to residents who want start or develop their own retail businesses.
Clean City Project – in partnership with Incredible Edible Levenshulme, have been awarded funding of just over £25,000 from Manchester City Council’s Clean City initiative to undertake a large project on and around Farmside Place car park in Levenshulme.
Levenshulme High Street Community Economic Development Plan – In 2015 Levenshulme Market CIC received a funding and support package via Co-operatives UK as part of the Community Economic Development (CED) programme – a new initiative designed for local community groups and organisations who want to take a lead in shaping their economies for the benefit of local communities. Following stakeholder engagement meetings and with the support of the New Economics Foundation (NEF) the market team devised a research project designed to answer some critical questions about the retail environment in Levenshulme. Informed by the findings of the research and working with the high street stakeholders and Manchester City Council we have developed a plan of activity to help encourage the high street into better economic health – the research report and the plan can be found here.
Click on the links above to fund out more about each of these projects or get in touch if you have any questions about our work as a social enterprise.