The New Economy in 20 Enterprises

Welcome to the UK’s top twenty ‘[[Transition]] oriented’ social enterprises. Combined these enterprises have a turnover of £3.5 million and provide paid employment for more than 100 people. We think they’re rather brilliant examples of people just doing stuff…


Location Sector
Bath & West Community Energy Bath, Somerset Energy – renew. generation
The Big Lemon Brighton Transport – bus
The Bristol Bike Project Bristol Transport – bike
Bristol Pound (with Bristol Credit Union) Bristol Finance – local currency
DE4 Food Matlock, Derby Food – distribution
DotDotDot Property Guardians London Housing – empty buildings
The Handmade Bakery Slaithwaite, Yorks Food – bakery
Hestia Care at Home Totnes, Devon Health – care
iSmooth Community Café Ammanford, Wales Food – café
London Creative Labs London Services – employment/enterprise
Norwich FarmShare Norwich Food – CSA
The Raven Inn Llanarmon-yn-Ial, Wales Food – pub
Renewable Energy Co-operative Truro, Cornwall Energy – renewables installation
Repowering London London Energy – renew. generation
The Restart Project London Waste – re-use & repair
Robert Owen Community Banking Powys, Wales Finance – loans & investment
SpareWheels Dunbar, Scotland Transport – car club
Totnes Sustainable Construction Totnes, Devon Housing – retrofit/construction
Transition Homes Totnes, Devon Housing – affordable new builds
Uig Community Co-operative Shop Isle of Lewis, Scotland Retail – community shop
Each of these enterprises demonstrates a different way of working from business as usual – they are [[sustainability|sustainable]], offer some [[community benefit|social benefits]] and have [[community ownership of assets|shared ownership]], while providing essential goods and services for the [[community]] in which they make their home. They provide jobs for local people, as well as [[volunteering]] opportunities, and they buy from other local independent businesses. Most have emerged from a local [[Transition]] group or have links to [[Transition]] in some way.
Individually they are great examples, but the transformative potential is really clear when we picture them all operating together in one place… and we suggest that all of these enterprises are needed everywhere, given they meet our basic needs including food, energy, [[transit access|transport]] and housing. They illustrate what a new kind of community-led, place-based economy might look like, and show that the building blocks – the viable business models – are already in place and highly replicable.
We know there’s a large market opportunity for a [[localization|re-localised]] economy based around local, independent businesses and supply chains. This has been quantified in 3 sectors so far – food, renewable energy and retrofitting homes – in REconomy’s Local Economic Blueprint work earlier this year. This top 20 provides working models for the kinds of enterprises that can turn this opportunity into reality. We offer this report as a stimulus for government, funders, the [[Transition]] movement and other community groups and entrepreneurs to see the enormous potential in the community enterprise sector.