Infographic with Scotland map as back ground. Text states: The Co-op Economy, Co-operatives UK. 621 co-operatives £1.84bn revenue 689,31 members, 9,169 employees

New research published by Co-operatives UK in September 2023 shows the continuing growth and resilience of the sector in Scotland.

The full report, titled Co-operative and Mutual Economy 2023, provides a combined, comprehensive dataset on the democratic economy across the UK and presents a compelling case for harnessing the full potential of co-operatives and mutuals.

Despite the continuing challenging economic outlook, co-operative businesses continue to flourish. These resilient organisations place the best interests of their members at the heart of what they do, ensuring decisions and profits members and communities rather than distant shareholders focused primarily on financial gain. And while doing this, they continue to contribute significantly to the economy. Key findings are detailed below:

Key Findings

  • There are 7,586 co-ops across the UK, an increase of 1.1% since 2022
  • They employee 249,142 people with a turnover £40.9 billion
  • The sector in Scotland continues to grow, increasing from 602 in 2022 to 621 in 2023 with a start-up rate of 3.7%,  above that of the UK as a whole.
  • The turnover of Scottish co-ops totals £1.84 billion and they employ 9169.
  • Co-ops continue to stand the test of time as they are twice as likely to survive the early years of trading compared with other start-up businesses.
  • More than three quarters of co-op start-ups (83.3%) are still flourishing after the difficult first five years compared with 38.4% of all new companies.
  • Co-ops have grown by 1.1% growth compared to a decline of 1.7% in UK companies as whole.


"The Co-operative and Mutual Economy Report is a substantial piece of research. It provides a clear picture of how significant these models are to our economy and the value to our communities of taking a different approach to business. We are delighted but not surprised to see the continued growth in Scotland. This matches the ambition and interest in co-ops that our advisors are seeing on the ground and the increased realisation that this model is a versatile and viable way of running a successful organisation."
Image of Darah Zahran
Darah Zahran
Team leader, Co-operative Development Scotland


The full Co-operative and Mutual Economy report is available from Co-operatives UK. Click the link below to be redirected to their website. For further information about support for co-ops in Scotland, please contact the Co-operative Development Scotland team.