Author Archives: CDS Admin

EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP AND CO-OPERATIVES IN SCOTLAND – A TEN YEAR TRANSFORMATION

By Sarah Deas

11/12/15 - 15112301 - SCOTTISH ENTERPRISEGLASGOWSarah Deas

It is ten years since I took up my role as director at Co-operative Development Scotland. As someone who is passionate about creating a progressive economy – one that delivers for people and planet – it has been a real privilege to lead CDS over the past decade. As I prepare to move on, I’ve been reflecting on what we’ve achieved.

Initially on the edge of the economic development agenda, co-operative models have shifted firmly to the mainstream. Thousands of businesses and individuals have benefited from the 290 consortium co-operatives, community co-operatives and employee-owned businesses established in Scotland over the past ten years.  We have seen a fivefold increase in employee ownership since we started promoting the model and the pace of take-up is accelerating.

This growth has led to Scotland being viewed as a pioneer in co-operative development, with many aspiring to echo our approach. Over the years, I have been invited to speak at a range of international events and forums, including in the co-operative heartlands of Italy and Spain. A true recognition of our success.

In 2018, the Ownership Effect Inquiry, an independent review into employee ownership’s impact on the economy, recommended that the UK Government replicate “Scotland’s successful scheme that has delivered a tenfold return on investment for every £1 devoted to on-the-ground support.”

Some of Scotland's consortium co-operatives, community co-operatives and employee-owned businesses

Some of Scotland’s consortium co-operatives, community co-operatives and employee-owned businesses

There are a number of reasons behind Scotland’s success in this area. We’ve had exemplary support from the Scottish Government, which recognises the key role that co-operative models can play in delivering its economic goal of Inclusive Growth – a fairer economy which distributes wealth more widely and addresses inequalities.

An encouraging amount of cross party support has also led to increased dialogue around the models, with parliamentary debates on the importance of co-operatives and employee ownership to the Scottish economy. I have frequently been invited to contribute to meetings of the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee (and its predecessors), where I’ve shared some of Scotland’s many success stories as evidence of the wider economic and societal benefits of co-operative working, bringing these to the forefront of the economic agenda.

The Scottish Government’s commitment to promoting co-operative models was further demonstrated with last year’s launch of ‘Scotland for EO’, an industry leadership group co-chaired by Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills. Led by industry working in partnership with the public sector, it has a championing, influencing and facilitating role which aims to build and strengthen Scotland’s EO community. ‘Scotland for EO’ is built on the immense pride and passion displayed by Scotland’s employee owned businesses in endorsing the model over the years – hugely valued support which has been vital in effecting wider change.

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The launch of Scotland for EO at the employee-owned Auchrannie resort in Arran last year

Also key to the surge in awareness of co-operatives is the work of a dedicated team here at CDS, whose commitment and approach to promoting the models has been instrumental to their growth. From raising awareness among professional advisors to providing businesses with advice and financial support, the team is passionate to drive momentum. With the ongoing support of our colleagues at Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Business Gateway, we have continued to attract increasing demand for our services, and as I move on, there is a strong pipeline of businesses looking to adopt co-operative models, particularly EO.

While progress has been significant, there remains work to be done to reinforce the benefits of co-operative models, and the route they offer to a more equal economy. As I hand over the reins to my successor Clare Alexander, I feel very positive that our activity over the past ten years has paved the way for continued change.

With a wealth of experience in driving better business through workplace innovation, Clare is ideally positioned to fully maximise the opportunities, and further drive the uptake of co-operative models in line with the Scottish Government’s Inclusive Growth Strategy. With her belief that “business leaders should be predisposed to see the power of their people”, her values are synonymous with those of ‘Scotland for EO’. Her position on the board will see her working towards the group’s ambitious goals of increasing the number of employee-owned businesses in Scotland to 500 by 2030, and by 2040 to have created the best environment for EO businesses to thrive with Scotland having the highest density of EO businesses in the economy as a consequence.

Meanwhile, I plan to continue to promote inclusive approaches through the Wellbeing Economy Alliance – a new global collaboration of organisations, movements and individuals working together to change the economic system to one that delivers human and ecological wellbeing. I look forward to building on what we’ve achieved over the past ten years and continuing to promote co-operative and employee ownership models as a way of achieving a fair and inclusive society.

EO GUIDANCE FROM PROFESSIONAL ADVISERS IS INVALUABLE

As the popularity of employee ownership among businesses in Scotland continues to grow, so does the requirement for specialist advice from professionals working in law, accounting and banking. To help raise awareness of the EO model among advisers in these sectors, we’ve been delivering a roadshow in partnership with the Law Society of Scotland and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.

Our final events take place in Edinburgh and Glasgow on Thursday 6 June, with Campbell Clark, a partner at law firm Blackadders LLP, and Simon Poole of employee-owned Jerba Campervans on hand to share their knowledge and insight. We had a chat with them to learn more the aims of the roadshow.

The Jerba Campervans team

The Jerba Campervans team

Campbell says: “I’m delighted to be taking part in this event to help professional advisers in Edinburgh develop their awareness of employee ownership. Interest in employee ownership and its advantages as a business model has never been greater, so it’s essential for solicitors, accountants and financial consultants to ensure they’re fully equipped to inform and advise their clients appropriately and support them as they negotiate the transition process. An increase in availability of specialist guidance is something that the local business community will access and benefit from in the long-term.”

Simon, co-founder North Berwick-based Jerba Campervans which specialises in converting Volkswagen Transporter vans into luxury campervans, took the decision to sell the company to employees in January 2018. Since the ownership transfer, Simon and his wife Cath have continued to work in their usual roles at Jerba Campervans and are now sixteen months into their planned five-year exit strategy.

Simon says: “Our experience of transferring the ownership of our company has definitely convinced us of the advantages and it’s testament to the fact that employee ownership is an excellent business model which benefits everyone. Cath and I can continue with our day-to-day roles in the business for as long as we need to, with the knowledge that the future is taken care of, while our employees share in the profits of the business and have a much greater interest in its growth and success. We believe that this not only drives job satisfaction, productivity and innovation, it’s ensuring that the business’s unique ethos is preserved.

“We’d certainly urge any business considering succession strategies to explore employee ownership as a potential solution, and to seek out professional guidance on how to make the transfer process work to benefit both the business and its employees.”

The Selling a business to an Employee Ownership Trust roadshow is now over. To keep up with future events programmes, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, or contact us here using the ‘expert support’ option for more information.

GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY: PROFESSIONAL ADVISER EXPERTISE IN EO

Throughout May and June, we’ve partnered with the Law Society of Scotland and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland to bring professionals in the legal, accounting and banking sectors more information about advising their clients on employee ownership as a succession option. The Selling a business to an Employee Ownership Trust roadshow will see sessions delivered in eight locations throughout Scotland with presentations from some of Scotland’s leading specialists in business buyouts as well as representatives from employee-owned businesses.

The next stops on our EO roadshow for professional advisers in the legal, accounting and banking sectors are Inverness on Tuesday 28 May and Kirkwall and Lerwick on Wednesday 29 May.

Craig McKerracher of law firm Harper Macleod LLP will share his professional expertise and insight, while Dennis Overton and Rachel Hannah of employee-owned seafood producer Aquascot will be there to talk about the company’s EO journey.

aquascot

We caught up with Craig and Dennis to hear more about the important role professional advisers play in informing clients about employee ownership as a business succession model.

Dennis says: “Since we began our employee ownership journey in 2008, employee ownership has become the crucial element of Aquascot’s identity.  For us, it represented a way of keeping the business based where it should be at the heart of UK aquaculture and protecting the long-term interests of everyone involved with Aquascot – supply partners, partners in the business, customer partners and the many people who enjoy our products.

“We’re great advocates of the business model and would urge companies interested in adopting it to seek guidance from professional advisers and from businesses who’ve been through the process so they can achieve the best results in the interests of both the business and its employees. For example, one thing we found very valuable in preparing for employee ownership was forming an employee-elected Partnership Council. This gives everyone a fair chance to represent their colleagues, ensures a healthy flow of communication runs through the business and, we believe, also adds an additional strength to our partnership. We look forward to sharing more details of our experience at the sessions in Inverness, Kirkwall and Lerwick.”

Craig continues: “To thrive and fulfil their potential, it’s important that businesses – whatever their type or size – are able to access appropriate professional guidance, and that becomes particularly vital when a transfer of ownership is being considered. Professional advisers therefore need to ensure they’re well placed to offer their clients in-depth information and advice on all aspects of employee-ownership, and are equipped to capably and confidently lead them through the transition process.

“The forthcoming events for solicitors, accountants and financial consultants will help develop the expertise in employee ownership that’s available to the local business community, and in the longer-term, that’s good news for the region’s economy.”

The Selling a business to an Employee Ownership Trust roadshow is now over. To keep up with future events programmes, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, or contact us here using the ‘expert support’ option for more options.

WOMEN-LED EMPLOYEE-OWNED BUSINESSES LEAD THE WAY

Research carried out by Women’s Enterprise Scotland shows that women-led businesses contribute more than £5 billion towards the Scottish economy, and that if rates of women-led businesses equalled that of men, the contribution to Scotland’s GVA would increase to £13 billion. Therefore, it’s encouraging that the past few years have seen a rise in the number of female-fronted businesses in the employee ownership sector, with several of the businesses transitioning to EO being owned or run by women.

We caught up with our director Sarah Deas to hear about some examples.

“One of Scotland’s most prominent EO businesses being run by a woman is Arran’s award-winning Auchrannie Resort. Established by Iain and Linda Johnston in 1988, it became employee-owned in December 2017, with 160 members of staff becoming owners. Linda has led the company as managing director and board chair since 2010.

Auchrannie 1

The team at employee-owned Auchrannie in Arran

“With two 4-star hotels, 30 5-star self-catering lodges, two leisure clubs, three restaurants, an ASPA spa and Arran Adventure outdoor company, Linda and Iain had cultivated a hugely successful business. When considering her succession options, it was important to Linda that the ethos of the company, the existing team, and the community use of Auchrannie’s facilities for the future was protected.

“Those were the drivers in deciding that employee ownership was the way forward for the company, and the new ownership structure means that her team now plays a huge part in shaping and influencing the future success of Auchrannie.

“Another Scottish business which has adopted the EO model in recent years is Doune-based Harvey Maps, a professional mapmaking service for the sport of orienteering. Founded 40 years ago by Robin Harvey MBE and Susan Harvey MBE, it is one of a very small number of companies in the UK to generate its own map data, becoming a market leader in maps for outdoor pursuits.

“As Susan considered her exit strategy, she felt it was important that the business they had built up over the years wasn’t swallowed up by a competitor. She decided that EO would give the company the best chance of continued independent existence and success, while retaining jobs locally. The employee buyout saw ten staff given the opportunity to become owners.

Harvey Maps, Doune, Stirlingshire, 21/11/2017: Harvey Maps staff, with founding directors Robin and Susan Harvey (centre), pictured outside their firm's offices (white building, left) on Doune's Main Street, Stirlingshire.

The team at Harvey Maps, Doune

“Heading up Glasgow-based architects Page \ Park is Karen Pickering, who was appointed as its chair of the board of directors following its transition to employee ownership. Having served 27 years with the company, her energy and drive to ensure the best possible architectural outcomes has continued in her new leadership.

“She states that becoming employee-owned boosted productivity and increased engagement among staff – team members are no longer ’wage earners’, they are ‘company owners’ and that has brought about greater energy, drive and pride – a great endorsement of the employee ownership model.

Page  Park Architects, Glasgow, 02/12/2013: Page  Park Architects staff, pictured at the firm's offices in James Morrison Street, Glasgow. Photography for Cooperative Development Scotland / Scottish Enterprise from:  Colin Hattersley Photography - colinhattersley@btinternet.com - www.colinhattersley.com - 07974 957 388

Page\Park Architects in Glasgow

“Also benefiting from EO is East Kilbride-based brand-realisation company Novograf. When the founders were considering their succession options, the company was performing well, winning some significant new business. They wanted to ensure this momentum would continue with those who knew the company best.

“Heading up the team of employee owners is managing director Jennifer Riddell–Dillet, who is harnessing the power of a highly engaged and motivated workforce to drive the business forward to further innovation and success.

Novograf in East Kilbride

Novograf in East Kilbride

“Employee ownership has great potential to help drive economic growth and create greater wealth equality in society. It’s great to see such successful, female–led businesses thrive within the sector, and we look forward to the number of women leading the way in EO continuing to grow.

If you have a question or you want to talk about how employee ownership can help you, please get in touch with us here using the ‘expert support’ option.

CHEMCO INTERNATIONAL BECOMES EMPLOYEE OWNED TO ADDRESS SUCCESSION AND SAFEGUARD SKILLS AND JOBS

Chemco International is the latest company in Scotland to become 100% employee owned.

The company, which is headquartered in Coatbridge, is regarded as a market leader in the design and manufacture of state-of-the-art protective coatings and is at the forefront of delivering environmentally friendly products for a wide range of industries throughout the world.

Chemco International

The Chemco International Team

Founded in 1990 by Manny Khorasani, Chemco traces its origins back to the Original Glassflake Company, the inventors of glassflake technology in the 1960s. Manny joined Glassflake as a production supervisor in 1982 and after quickly rising through the management ranks, he bought the company in 1990, renaming it Chemco International. The company is now one of a few remaining Coatbridge-based engineering firms that has continued to evolve, expand and develop over the past 40 years.

Around eighteen months ago Manny started to think about taking a back seat in the business and, after considering his options, he decided that employee ownership was the best way to secure the company’s future and protect and retain the jobs of his staff. In December, Chemco International announced it had completed its transition to become an employee-owned business, with 24 members of staff becoming owners.

An Employee Ownership Trust was formed to hold 100% of the shares on behalf of the new owners.  We caught up with Manny to hear more about the reasons behind the decision to move to employee ownership.

“We are almost an institution in the area, having been here for almost 40 years. That’s why it was really important to me that the company not only stayed within the local community, but that the jobs and the skills of the staff, who all live locally, were retained and protected. 

“I looked at a number of different options, including selling the business, but my concern was that due to the nature of the business, a trade buyer would most likely relocate the company. None of the options I explored delivered the business continuity I wanted for our customers and employees and this is when the employee ownership became an attractive option. 

“I carried out some research and then attended an employee ownership event run by Scottish Enterprise. The event was really useful and I came away with lots of valuable information. Even before I left the event I knew that employee ownership was exactly what I was looking for – it would provide the security that we wanted and, most importantly, would allow the employees, who have all played a key role in the growth of Chemco International, to have a real say in its future. 

“I must also mention Scottish Enterprise, for being instrumental in facilitating the employee ownership scheme for Chemco, and giving impartial, independent trustworthy advice. 

“It’s a very exciting time for our company and we all look forward to the opportunities this brings.

As far as I am concerned employee ownership is a win, win situation for all concerned and it is my belief that this will be the way forward in the near future.”

For more information about employee ownership and whether it is right for your business, please get in touch here using the ‘expert support’ option.

 

THE PRIORY HOTEL BECOMES EMPLOYEE OWNED

Founded in 1972 by Stuart Hutton, The Priory Hotel in Beauly is a local institution, holding a special place in the hearts of many from the town and beyond. Over the years, Stuart and his family have played a key role in the day-to-day management and running of the hotel. However, after over forty years of business, he began to consider his retirement and what that might mean for the hotel. After considering his options, Stuart concluded that employee ownership was the best way to secure the hotel’s future and reward his loyal staff.

An Employee Ownership Trust has been formed which will hold 72% of the shares on behalf of the employees. Stuart’s son Kenneth Hutton will retain the bulk of the remaining shareholding, to demonstrate that the family remains committed to the continuation of the hotel. Kenneth grew up with the hotel since childhood, and despite taking a different career direction as a golf professional, he has become involved again over the past few years. He will become managing director of the company, and will oversee its operation as his dad begins to remove himself from the business.  We caught up with Kenneth to hear more about the reasons behind the decision.

The Priory Hotel, Beauly, Thursday 22, November, 2018. Image: Assembled staff

The Priory Hotel team 

“My dad was at the stage where he was considering a step back from the business. He had put the hotel on the market recently and had a couple of trade sale offers, however he didn’t feel that the prospective buyers were the right fit for the hotel. A staff member had once mentioned employee ownership as a potential solution to this – it meant the business would be sold to those who know it best, and it wouldn’t be taken over by a large chain. The option stuck with my dad and when he felt like he had the correct management team in place, the time was right to begin progressing the buyout.

“Beauly is a small town and many people from the area have worked at the hotel over the years. Many marriages were forged at our discos and musical events in the 70’s and 80’s, and people still travel from far and wide for our food offerings, and in particular our famous Sunday carvery and traditional High Teas. The Priory Hotel is a huge part of the local community and a takeover by a large chain could have put jobs and company values at risk. By selling to his employees, my dad knows that the business he spent 46 years building is now in the hands of a loyal and invested team that wants the best for the hotel and the local area.

“Some of the key management team will assume positions on the board, including Kate Melens, who will be the General Manager of the hotel, bringing a wealth of experience and a fresh view to the way the business needs to develop with changing times. The staff are very excited by the news and are looking forward to learning more about the role they will play in the hotel’s future.”

For more information about employee ownership and whether it is right for your business, please get in touch here using the ‘expert support’ option.

CATCHING UP WITH SCOTLAND’S EO CHAMPION

Following the announcement from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in August about the establishment of a new Industry Leadership Group, ‘Scotland for Employee Ownership’ (SfEO), an Employee Ownership Champion has been recruited to work with the group.

We caught up with Yogi Johnston, Champion, Scotland for Employee Ownership, to find out more about her role and what the SfEO group will be working on.

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 “I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to work for SfEO.  Being a HR professional, I’ve always focused on challenging individuals, managers and teams to have an inclusive approach to how they work.  I want to use that experience at a macro level to influence and enable entire businesses to work and grow in an inclusive way; resulting in a stronger, larger and more confident Employee Owned Business community in Scotland.

“My focus for the coming year will be to work with the SfEO Board members to help deliver the strategy, visit Employee Owned businesses across Scotland and facilitate initiatives in three key areas; learning, enabling and influencing.

“We want our Employee Owned businesses to thrive, which means enabling access to the right type of learning and development.  Therefore, one of the group’s key initiatives will be to drive the creation of a world class learning environment where people will be able to access learning that will help them understand the technicalities of being employee owned as well as learning how to develop and maintain their employee value proposition.

“The SfEO group will also consider how we engage with key partners such as the Employee Ownership Association, to bring together Employee Owned Businesses (EOBs) from across Scotland.  These types of events will focus on sharing knowledge and best practice, as well as discussing challenges and celebrating successes.

“One of the overall aims of SfEO is to raise the profile of Employee Ownership such that it moves from ‘the fringe to the mainstream’ as an attractive business model. To achieve this, we will be looking to engage with key influencers, including professional institutions and academic researchers to help influence research and policy – perhaps we can get a few university dissertations on the go too!  I definitely have a busy year ahead of me and can’t wait to get started!”

PALIMPSEST BOOK PRODUCTION LTD ENTERS NEW CHAPTER WITH EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP TRANSITION

Falkirk-based Palimpsest Book Production Ltd, one of the UK’s market leaders in book production, has joined the growing number of employee-owned businesses in Scotland, with 21 employees given a stake in the business.

Established in 1994 by Craig and Ruth Morrison, Palimpsest provides the full range of pre-press services, including typesetting, proofreading, digital publishing, design and reprographics, to the UK publishing market. From modest beginnings based in the Morrisons’ home, the company quickly grew, adding several staff and moving to new premises within 12 months.

Craig and Ruth have now sold a controlling interest in the business to an Employee Ownership Trust which will hold the shares on behalf of the employees and allow them to participate in the future success of the business.

Palimpsest Book Production Ltd, Falkirk, 30/08/2018: Staff and directors at Palimpsest, including managing director Craig Morrison (third from left in back row), director Ruth Morrison (seated left), director Andy O'Neill (fourth from left in back row), director John Forsyth (sixth from left in back row) and trustee director Sarah Eddie (correct, far right in lower row).

The Palimpsest team 

We spoke to Craig to find out more about the decision to become employee-owned.

Craig said:  “Looking to the future, we realised that at some point we would need to create a succession plan for the business. We wanted to ensure that when we did eventually retire, we could guarantee that Palimpsest would continue to operate successfully.  Doing some research into our options, I attended a seminar on succession planning organised by Co-operative Development Scotland.

“We were immediately attracted to the idea of transitioning to employee ownership because it would enable us to realise part of our investment while continuing to work in the business until we are ready to retire.

“Employee ownership will also ensure that Palimpsest continues to thrive, offering employment and careers in Scotland into the future. With a client base ranging from leading international publishing companies to self-publishing authors and an ‘end to end’ range of pre-press services, the new Employee Ownership Trust has a strong foundation.

Craig continued: “We’ve had an amazing journey over the last 24 years, with clients telling us that we have become their trusted partners in both print and digital book publishing. Ruth and I are delighted we now have a succession solution in place, though have no plans to retire for a while yet.”

20/20 PROJECT MANAGEMENT JOINS SCOTLAND’S GROWING EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP SECTOR

The UK’s leading specialist provider of project management training, 20/20, is one of the latest Scottish businesses to announce its transition to employee ownership, with 20 employees becoming owners.

The project management and project controls training company delivers courses and consulting services throughout the world from its Aberdeen base.  It works with major names across a range of sectors including BP, Centrica, Transport for London, BAE, Rolls Royce and AMEC, as well as a range of public sector organisations, and has an annual turnover of £3million.

An Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) has been formed and holds 61% of the shares on behalf of the employees with the option to acquire the remaining shares in the future.

Becoming an employee-owned company has been a positive step for 20/20, with the board of directors deciding it was the right move to enable the engagement of the employees to effectively take the business through its long-term goals.

We caught up with founding director Tony Marks to find out more about the decision.

Mr Marks said:  “Initially employee ownership was considered as part of 20/20’s succession planning strategy, and after I attended a succession masterclass run by Co-operative Development Scotland the benefits became very apparent and the plans to make it a reality came into action.

“We had developed a future leaders programme with the eventual aim of preparing some of our staff to oversee business operations.  Myself and two fellow directors were the three main shareholders in the business and we still hadn’t resolved the issue of realising the value of our individual shares.

“Hearing first-hand about the process and experience of becoming employee-owned really helped us understand the potential benefits, and we agreed it was an effective solution to our succession issues. The prospect of a more engaged workforce and a culture which encouraged greater innovation really appealed to us. We held a team meeting to tell our staff, and the news was very well-received.

“Employee ownership allows myself and my fellow directors to remain in the business as we continue to actively develop our future leadership team, with the knowledge that 20/20’s future is secure. We hope that with a highly-invested workforce, the company will continue to grow and succeed well into the future, with all employees sharing in the rewards.”

Emma Davidson, 20/20’s employee trustee, added:  “The employees see this as a very positive thing and are collectively looking forward to building on 20/20’s business success for years to come.  By becoming an employee-owned company, we feel empowered to create an environment that suits us as a workforce, ultimately increasing our productivity to bring 20/20’s success to the next level.”

20/20 Business Insight of Aberdeen. (back row left to right) Karen Brown, Emma Hart, Jamie Birse, Jacob Bonner, Business Development Director Tom Vincent, and Operations Director Neil Harkin. (front row left to right) Emma Davidson, Service Delivery Director Graham Chapman, Finance Director Mandy Buck,  and CEO Tony Marks. Taken 15-08-18

NEW LEADERSHIP GROUP FOR EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP – SCOTLAND FOR EO

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently announced the establishment of a new industry leadership group which will aim to make Scotland the best country in the world for employee-owned (EO) businesses.

Under the strapline ‘Employees CAN DO Ownership’, Scotland for EO aspires to increase the number of employee and worker-owned businesses from around 100 to 500 by 2030. It will be backed with £75,000 of Scottish Government funding and will be co-chaired by Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills.

We caught up with some of the people involved to find out about the reasons behind the establishment of the group.

The First Minister, who revealed the news during a visit to the employee-owned Auchrannie resort on Arran, said:

“All the evidence tells us that employee ownership delivers benefits to business performance, the people who work in them and the places in which they are located. This has certainly been the experience of the Auchrannie team in Arran.

“The health of the Scottish economy depends on having a diverse range of business-types and employee ownership clearly has an important role to play in that.

“We want to make it easier for companies and workers to find out more about this model and to move towards it if it’s right for them. Scotland for EO will help to make this into a real option for businesses across Scotland.”

John Clark, chair of employee-owned business Novograf and member of the steering group behind the initiative, described how the group aims to cultivate the perfect environment for further growth in Scotland’s employee ownership sector.

“We have a choice: to be passive and allow the development of a support environment for EO companies to happen without industry input, or to take a proactive approach and seek to actively influence how that environment evolves. We believe the proactive approach creates the prospect of making Scotland the best country in the world to establish and grow an EO business.”

Evidencing the increasing popularity of EO in Scotland, Co-operative Development Scotland director Sarah Deas concluded:

“The appetite for employee ownership has never been greater. In the last five years the number of employee and worker owned businesses operating in Scotland has trebled and this past year we have been working on a ‘deal a month’ on average.  Our client pipeline is expanding too, indicating take-up of the model will continue to accelerate in future years.

“Promoting employee ownership helps drive growth in the economy and create greater wealth equality in society.”