The Buy Better Together Challenge

***Update for applicants***’

REMINDER: Applications for the challenge are now closed. 7 projects have now gone through to the mentoring stage of the Challenge after attending the interview day. 

Have you devised new ways of buying collectively to help save money? Or do you have an amazing idea about communities working together that will deliver social benefits, that’s just waiting to come out? Well, applications are now open and we want to hear from you!


The Buy Better Together Challenge is an exciting initiative by Co-operatives UK and BIS to inspire new models of community buying, stimulate enterprise and promote shared learning. A £60,000 pot will go towards training, mentoring and seed funding for stand out projects, including £15,000 for the overall winner.


The Challenge is open to groups and organisations within the public, voluntary or business sectors, which focus on creating new or developing existing community buying schemes.


Entrants are asked to address one or more of the below challenges:

Challenge One: Project aimed at creating a platform, tool or vehicle to help individuals to come together and form a community buying group.

Challenge Two: Project aimed at enabling existing or new community groups to develop their purchasing power by working collectively on behalf of individual consumers.

Challenge Three: Project aimed at businesses to empower their employees or consumers to group for community buying.


The criteria for judging the prize will include:

  • The greatest potential in terms of saving money and getting better quality
  • Achieving long lasting impact or sustainability
  • Being able to engage a community successfully
  • Having social benefits, including helping disadvantaged consumers


The judges for the prize are:

Tim Campbell MBE, CEO, Bright Ideas Trust, Winner of ‘The Apprentice’
Robin Murray, Industrial Economist author ‘Co-operatives in the Google Age’
Richard Pope, Product Manager, Government Digital Service
Teresa Perchard
, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Citizens Advice
Maresa Bossano
, Food Cooperatives Project Officer, Sustain
Steve Clare
, Director of Campaigns, Locality
Kevin Mclean
, Operations & Technology Director, UK Online Centres


Please read the Challenge Introduction Document before applying to understand details on the Challenge and the criteria that will be assessed. You can then either enter online or print the PDF application form to post the application in. You can see examples of community buying schemes in our Case Studies and use our Online Guide for advice on setting up community buying schemes.

Applications close on the 15th May 2012. Good luck!


Click to access your choice of form below:

If you can’t access the above PDF documents, click to install Adobe Reader to view the documents.


The Buy Better Together Challenge is brought to you by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)  in partnership with Co-operatives UK, the national trade association for co-operative enterprises.


7 Responses to The Buy Better Together Challenge

  1. sam roger says:

    hi there
    just thought i would let you know that i had submitted my email to get the news about this when it launched & never got anything – found this via facebook – am not griping but just thought you might want to check that others arent in the same position.

    • BIS says:


      If you submitted your email to the survey monkey form between December and today, don’t worry we haven’t forgotten you. My policy colleagues are in the process of replying to all on that list now that they have detail on the Challenge to share with you. If you don’t get that email, do let us know – either call the number / email the address in the Contact Us tab.

      Hope that helps

      BIS Digital

  2. Great idea and looking forward to applying with our Community project

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  5. Yasha Estraikh says:

    Hi there,

    I applied for this challenge and have as yet not heard anything even though it said that you would respond by the 4th June. Have the dates changed or are you only notifying successful candidates?

    Yasha (crowdid)

  6. Craig Belsham says:

    Thank you to everyone that applied for the challenge – the response was amazing! Selecting the projects for interview has been a difficult task for the judges as there have been many good projects but all those projects that are being invited to the interview day were contacted last week. If you are involved in a project and your organiser has not heard yet from us then I am afraid your project has not made it through to the interview phase. We will be sending out letters to all project organisers later this week and a list of projects being interviewed will appear on this site shortly.
    Even if you have not been selected I hope you will continue to think about the opportunities community buying can provide and the guide elsewhere on this Community Buying site can help you develop your ideas further.
    Craig Belsham
    Consumer Empowerment Strategy Team

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