The Business Connector programme will create a network of Business Connectors that will be supported and trained by Business in the Community. It will provide an innovative, focussed and more sustainable way for business to support civil society organisations and for them to work together in creating more sustainable communities.

The programme also represents a unique new leadership and personal development opportunity for employees in supporting companies. In its 33 years, Business in the Community has seen and helped to illustrate that businesses can achieve much greater impact in the areas of greatest need by working collaboratively both on key social and environmental issues, and within communities, rather than independently.

Similarly, large businesses can play a key role in leading the engagement of local small and medium sized businesses. BITC’s consultation ‘Transforming Business: Transforming Communities’ on the Government’s ‘Big Society’ vision, found that a broker on the ground, seconded or funded by business, is key to unlocking and sustaining effective community engagement between business and communities.

Business brokers, or ‘connectors’, can create local partnerships, critical to ensuring that what is being offered - be it time, skills, money or resource - matches local need and priorities. Effective partnership and collaborative working involves skills and understanding from all partners, and often the use of a broker, or ‘middle man’.

We know that turning opportunities to collaborate into functioning partnerships rarely occurs without the dynamism of key individuals - whether inside or outside of the organisations involved.

Creating a powerful movement of 1,000 Business Connectors in over 450 local communities will see unprecedented levels of local support and development led by business, creating more than 20,000 new partnerships and mobilising resources and support into the sector worth more than £130 million.

The Business Connector programme is designed to:

· Support individual businesses to work in partnership with local community organisations: benefiting the business and the community

· Support enterprise activity in the local area

· Increase the capacity of voluntary and community sector through facilitating business support

· Improve the quality of life for local communities in need

· Build on what we know already works

· Transform the way companies work in their local communities across the UK

How will it work?

Business Connectors will develop knowledge and understanding of an area and identify the relevant issues that business can help to tackle locally. They will meet local organisations (businesses and community organisations) to establish their needs, resources, and readiness to work with potential partners that make a good match. They will support the development of sustainable partnerships in these areas.

About Business in the Community

Business in the Community (BITC) stands for responsible business. We are a business-led charity with a growing membership of 850 companies, from large multinational household names to small local businesses and public sector organisations.

We advise, support and challenge members to create a sustainable future for people and the planet and to improve business performance. Our members work with us to define what responsibility looks like in the workplace, marketplace, community and the environment - and we share what we learn about driving performance through responsible business practice. BITC is proud to have Fujitsu as our Responsible Business of the Year 2015.