Tag Archives: Glasgow City Council

Myths busted at Co-operative Business Development Seminar

Jim_Maxwell,_Business_Development_Manager,_Co-operative_Development_Scotland_resizedCo-operative Development Scotland’s business development manager, Jim Maxwell, was a guest of Glasgow City Council on Wednesday, speaking at its second Co-operative Business Development Seminar.

Held at the Orkney Street Enterprise Centre, Jim was asked to talk about the use of consortia and the growth of employee ownership. Here, he gives his thoughts on the event.

Glasgow City Council’s commitment to co-operative working in the city was crystal clear on Wednesday when I was invited to speak to around 25 of the city’s business advisers about consortium working and employee ownership.

It was so encouraging to see the interest shown in both these models.  Glasgow’s front-line advisers clearly do feel these are concepts worth introducing to suitable client businesses.

This was a perceptive (and quite challenging!) audience with searching questions about the consortium model and how it provides a collaboration structure with the minimum of risk and bureaucracy.

Interest quickly focused on procurement and how the model is used by groupings of businesses to bid for larger contracts they couldn’t win individually. In fact joint-tendering is the most common use for the consortium model and much of the free support CDS provides is in setting up tendering consortia.

Consortium-based tendering also fits well with Glasgow City Council’s procurement policy and public procurement generally, which aims to achieve local community benefit wherever possible.

The annual CDS Collaboration Prize always produces a rush of interest from businesses interested in forming consortia. This year it launches on October 1 so watch our website for details.

With prizes of £10k up for grabs, my guess is we’ll be receiving a fair few enquiries via the Glasgow business advisers!

The discussion on Employee Ownership turned out to be rather a ‘myth-busting’ session with advisers raising the kind of questions they expect from their client companies, such as:

Q. What if the employees can’t afford to buy the business?

A. The business itself purchases the owner’s shares, not the employees

Q. What if the owner feels the business cannot be run successfully by committee?

A. Employee owned businesses are not run by committee, they have normal management structures.

Q. What if the owner isn’t ready to exit yet?

A. The exiting owner controls the whole process of transition, including the timeframe.  Most successful employee buy outs are planned well in advance.

the futureInterest also focused on the (considerable!) new tax benefits for owners when they pass a controlling interest to an employee trust and how company performance invariably benefits when employees have a meaningful stake via employee ownership.

The steps being taken by Glasgow City Council to ensure local businesses derive benefit from the “Co-operative Council” agenda are exemplary.

The strength of commitment is clear in the overwhelming response to the second stage of their co-operative support grant scheme and the recent announcement of a £1million budget to support business ownership transfer.

Practical steps like these are a real boost to co-operative working in Glasgow, and very much to be commended.

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’.

people make glasgow

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.

Glasgow City Council logo

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!