Lisburn community groups, charities and social enterprises are being encouraged to consider community shares as a means of financing new socially minded projects.
Tiziana O’Hara from Co-operative Alternatives said that in a time of public sector cuts when start-up capital and grants are increasingly hard to come by, community shares is a viable option for enterprises supporting a community need.
She said help was available to any organisation wishing to learn more about launching a share offer.
“There are many organisations in Lisburn working for the betterment of society that could benefit by the community share option,” she said.
“We at Co-operative Alternatives offer free support and tailored training to any group wanting to explore this option.
“We can introduce you to organisations that have gone down this route, help with business plans and community engagement strategies and will help you write the share offer document – any practical advice and expert guidance that is required.”
Ms O’Hara will be delivering a Community Shares workshop on March 4 at the South Eastern Hub, in Market Street, Lisburn.
She will be giving a range of advice on how to launch a Community Shares offer, how to set up a register a Community Benefit Society. To register for the workshop contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-operative Alternatives was commissioned by the Building Change Trust in 2013 to run its Community Shares, Ready! pilot project to increase awareness of Community Shares in Northern Ireland.
Ms O’Hara, who manages the Community Shares Ready! Project, added: “Because members of the community are literally buying in to the business, they have a vested interest in the enterprise and are incredibly supportive of it. It gives many businesses a ready-made customer-base.”
Community Shares are the sale of shares in enterprises that serve a community purpose.
The shares are bought by members of the public who want to invest in a local enterprise that meets a community need and expect a modest return in investment.
A number of organisations in Northern Ireland have already begun to realise the potential of issuing community shares to raise capital to start or grow their businesses.
For further information contact Tiziana on 07858317634.