Over the summer we issued an invite to the co-op sector to share their insights with us and help us inform our plans for 2023.  With the responses now in and feedback collated, our specialist advisor, Stewart Macgregor outlines some of the key findings in our latest blog article:

Stewart MacgregorAs the only public-sector-funded service in Scotland dedicated to supporting economic growth by increasing the number of co-operatives, Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS) must ensure that co-ops have a greater role and voice to inform the areas of support that we provide.

With that goal in mind, we devised the ‘Business Support Needs of Co-operatives in Scotland’ survey to help us understand the key sectors that co-ops are working in, the support that new and existing co-ops have accessed in the last 12 months, and the areas of support they would benefit from over the next 12 months.

These results have shown that our existing service, for both start-up and existing co-ops, largely continues to meet current need. Key messages include:

  • keep access to support simple and straightforward;
  • provide access to specialist knowledge, key areas and expertise;
  • ensure business support can be accessed as a one-off support intervention (as and when required).

Following our survey, we are confident that CDS’ support continues to reflect the needs of co-ops. However, we know there is more work to be done to help the sector grow. We will continue to ensure best use of the resources available to us at this time, and to support the critical role that co-ops have in supporting the Scottish Government’s aim to create a fairer, stronger and more democratic economy.

CDS is therefore delighted to be working with Co-operate Scotland LLP to deliver support to our clients. Co-operate Scotland LLP is a newly formed co-op of experienced practitioners with an unrivalled position in terms of knowledge, oversight, and networks across the operating landscape in Scotland. These expert advisors will help us continue to offer a high-quality service consisting of:

 Fully funded support to help establish new co-ops assisting with practical advice and support on:

  • business models and legal structures
  • business planning & feasibility
  • supporting the formation of an appropriate legal entity

And continuing our support for existing co-ops in Scotland by providing:

  • governance and legal structure reviews and implementation
  • supporting membership engagement reviews
  • securing funding
  • strategy development.

Working closely with our clients and partners, we want to ensure that our support remains proactive, helping co-ops become stronger, more resilient and are better able to meet the needs of the individuals and communities they support. We have seen the fantastic ability of the sector to self-organise and create opportunities for peer learning. Having supported a Worker Co-op meet-up in Glasgow in the last year, we are interested in learning how we can use our strategic role to continue to nurture the development and growth of peer learning opportunities going forward. We remain open and transparent, willing to listen to the needs of co-ops and ensuring that we continue to empower the sector in Scotland to grow, strengthen and position itself as the democratic business model for a wellbeing economy.

For further information on the support available to co-ops in Scotland please visit our pages on the Scottish Enterprise website.