Homeless people will be awarded up to £2,000 each in a mentoring scheme run by Crisis and the high-street bank Barclays.
A panel consisting of two Crisis representatives, two business experts and one former homeless person will allocate money to the best business start-up plans.
Each recipient will then be allocated a mentor to help him or her get the venture under way. Body Shop founder Anita Roddick has agreed to become the first mentor by helping a 35-year-old woman set up a beauty therapy business.
Changing Lives is designed to dispel the stereotype of homeless people as work shy as well as continuing the charity's evolution into an organisation that looks at homelessness from a wider perspective than just rough sleeping.
The project aims to have helped 125 people by June 2003. A pilot project revealed many homeless people are keen to give something back to the community with 13 of 125 involved wanting to work in the voluntary sector.