A competition to inspire new and innovative forms of community buying has been launched by the department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Co-operatives UK.

With £60,000 up for grabs the ‘Buy Better Together Challenge’ aims to inspire and reward innovative and successful models of community buying.

The advantages of community buying, in which businesses or individuals pool their buying power to purchase goods or services and so get better deals from suppliers, include reduced overheads and lower costs for themselves and their customers.

Group buying can also reduce the number of deliveries needed, cutting C02 emissions and helping the environment.

The ‘Buy Better Together Challenge’ £60,000 pot will go towards training, mentoring and seed funding for standout projects, including £15,000 for the overall winner.

Entries are being sought now and shortlisted applicants will be asked to prepare a detailed business plan for the final stage, aided by a business mentor if they need it. The overall winner will be announced in October 2012.

For more information, visit www.uk.coop/challenge.