Council’s ringing endorsement of co-operatives

GillianKirton-002The eyes of the world have been on Glasgow over the last week and a half as the city plays host to the Commonwealth Games.

Here, Gillian Kirton, Project Manager at Co-operative Development Scotland, looks at how the host city’s council is providing real support to co-operative businesses.

With almost 20 per cent of Scotland’s co-operatives residing in Glasgow, the ‘sector’ is thriving – these co-operatives employ almost 1400 individuals and account for £192m turnover per annum. Impressive numbers indeed.

To further enhance this, Glasgow City Council is one of just 21 Councils in the UK to commit to becoming a Co-operative Council and is certainly taking its commitment very seriously.

There’s real practical support available to companies and the council are putting their money where their mouth is – to date they have awarded 13 co-operatives a total of £210k to implement ‘transformational business development activities’.

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A further tranche of funding is now available with sums of between £2,500 and £25,000 available for eligible activity. And at a Glasgow Business Embassy event last week, it was announced that a pot of £3m will be available to support companies looking at business ownership transfer.

I’m confident we will see more companies following in the footsteps of Glasgow-based Page\Park and opting to transfer ownership to employees.

Co-operative Glasgow sees partnership working as key to successfully delivering their action plan and it was a pleasure to meet so many of those partners.

In collaboration with the Council, we delivered a seminar to many Business Gateway and other front line advisors. It gave them the opportunity to hear more about co-operatives, the impact they can make to the local economy, the many benefits of the model, and the support available to their clients.

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It’s fair to say that there was a lot of enthusiasm and excitement about the models – they see them as a perfect solution to meet the needs and growth aspirations of many of their clients.

CDS is delighted to continue to work in partnership with the Council, Business Gateway and other advisors to provide free advice and guidance to those businesses considering employee ownership and co-operative business models.

Our annual Collaboration Prize has seen some amazing success stories in Glasgow – Music Co-OPERAtive Scotland and Screen Facilities Scotland are going from strength to strength.

This year we will launch our Collaboration Prize on 1st October – up to three collaborative ideas will each gain a substantial £10k prize to get their idea off the ground. Will we see further success stories in Glasgow?  Watch this space!

Enjoy the Commonwealth Games – another exciting reason to celebrate all that Glasgow has to offer!

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