The Community Business Market in 2019

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Power to Change has published its fifth annual report on the community business market in England.

It uses a refined methodology and the most accurate data to describe the structure, size and shape of the community business market in 2019 and considers the outlook for the year ahead.

According to the report, there are 9,000 community businesses in England, employing 33,900 people. The sector is supported by 205,600 volunteers – a figure which has increased by nearly two thirds from last year.

The sector has an estimated total market income of £890m.

Some of the survey’s conclusions include:

  • Confidence in the financial outlook for community businesses’ remains relatively high, albeit slightly lower than last year.
  • Many community businesses continue to see high demand for their services and are increasing their income by expanding or diversifying their activities.
  • The proportion of respondents expecting their income from trading or contracts to increase has reduced, while the percentage of those predicting an increase in income from grant funding has grown.
  • Sustainability and growth in community businesses continues to depend on the engagement and goodwill of volunteers.
  • Since 2017 a growing proportion of community businesses surveyed define themselves as undertaking a single activity rather than multiple activities. However, it is unclear whether this is a market trend or simply a difference in the composition of the survey respondents.