While applications for the 2015 Collaboration Prize have now closed, CDS offers year-round support to businesses interested in joining forces with like-minded companies.

One successful collaboration which formed with CDS’ support is Screen Facilities Scotland (SFS), a membership co-operative representing facility and service companies in the screen and media production industry. Formed as a consortium in 2012, it promotes Scotland’s filming facilities, industry services and infrastructure, at home and abroad. It has become a focal point for member companies and a strong voice in the wider industry.

Here, Director Joanna Dewar Gibb explains the origins of SFS and how CDS support has helped it grow to become a major industry player.

SFS photo

Facilities and service companies are vital to Scotland’s production infrastructure, but many such companies in the creative sector felt under-represented. A few of these businesses came together to discuss a way forward, but the path wasn’t clear.

We decided to enter the Collaboration Prize in 2012 and were delighted to win. Thanks to the support of CDS, we were able to find that way forward. The process helped us focus our efforts and establish a formal body – Screen Facilities Scotland – quickly and appropriately.

We also received vital advice on strategy, marketing and IT, which helped us define our consortium structure and draft SFS members’ agreement.

One of the main concerns we wanted to tackle by forming SFS is the issue of Scottish contracts within our sector being won by businesses outside the country. By coming together we have tackled this issue with a stronger voice, allowing members to grow their businesses, build reputations and secure jobs and growth for the sector.

As a unified voice, we can also market our industry with greater impact, lobby for improvements to industry practices and policy, and pitch for projects as a larger group or series of sub-groups. As a central point of contact for potential clients, government, public agencies and other organisations, SFS is now a visible and influential entity.

The success of our collaboration has also earned SFS invitations to participate in a number of landmark events including the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Xpo North, IBC in Amsterdam and BVE in London. SFS members have also been asked formally to submit their views to several parliamentary committees, including the initial session of the Screen Sector Leadership Group.

We know first-hand the unpredictable environment in which creative businesses operate. Working with other like-minded companies in a formal consortium co-operative affords each company a number of advantages – the ability to grow their business, network more often, share common challenges and build a higher profile.

A consortium co-operative can help your company grow with shared resources, reduced risk, and access to new markets. It’s an organisation run in a shared and equal way by, and for the benefit of its members. Members are businesses and the co-operative can be for any purpose which supports them – such as marketing, tendering, innovating or exporting.

CDS can help you to explore the options, structure your consortium, and get more members involved.

If you would like to find out more about collaborative business models, or if you would like to get in touch, visit here.