Researching Community Interest Companies

It’s been quite a week! Anna and I have been getting lots of feedback on our Great Idea and we’re overwhelmed with lovely support from friends, colleagues and twittery pals. We’re trying desperately for this to be the only way in which we’re overwhelmed… There’s so much to do and while these initial stages are interesting in an academic-y sort of way, we so much just want to get going with projects and promotion that it’s a great feat of patience to get all the building blocks in place first!

Since we announced ourselves here over a week ago, we have been researching and scheming into the wee sma’ hours, investigating how to get Participate London established as a company and placed firmly on the map. I’ve been looking into getting the CIC set up officially, and have found all sorts of useful links online.Obviously this is our first point of call, everything the government can tell us about getting going:

http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?itemId=1077476109&type=RESOURCES

My biggest excitement here was discovering it only costs £35 to register your company – how great is that?!

Also a useful piece in the Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/dec/01/setting-up-community-interest-company

This has a selection of links at the bottom of the article – my favourite being:

http://www.cicassociation.org.uk/

We’ve joined the CIC association as a friend for now. It’s FREE (magic word) and full of loads of helpful advice about CIC management and funding. Great bedtime reading! We’re nearly ready to fill in our forms and make it all official. Gulp. I’ve made a list of things to do first. In no particular order:

– Confirm final director (hoping to do this by the end of next week, will keep you posted!)

– Decide whether to be limited by share or guarantee – I think we will choose guarantee as we don’t have any desire to issue shares in our company but, probably should take some legal advice

– Write a community interest statement – we need to pass a community interest test to prove we are eligible to be a CIC

– Draw up articles of association – the governing documents. I’m going to need a good template for this. Most banks and business advisory organisations have one that you can download and adapt to suit your purpose.

– Investment. Big one. Find investors (companies, individuals), think about how much we need initially, and figure out the legalities of investors – are we asking for loans which we pay back (how?) or for donations.

– Download all the forms and read them with the guidance notes. A good week or two of bedtime reading there…

So we’ll let you know how we get on – and keep those tips coming!