The community business sector in Scotland is growing and, to support this, Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS) is working in partnership with Community Shares Scotland (CSS) and the Plunkett Foundation to raise awareness and improve access to support. The partnership has just launched a new video guide which introduces the subject of community business – so we caught up with our co-ops specialist, Jaye Martin, to find out more about the sector, the support available and why now is a key moment for community business in Scotland.
CDS has always supported community businesses and we have consistently seen interest from clients in this area but there has been a change of pace most noticeably in the last 12 months. Two key reasons for this are firstly, the ecosystem in Scotland has evolved with organisations like CDS, CSS and the Plunkett Foundation raising awareness of the benefits and providing support and advice. Secondly, the pandemic has shone a light on how we do businesses and created a desire for change. Everyone, particularly those in rural communities, has been very dependent on their local services and now, more than ever, there may be a desire to preserve and develop the resources that are important to those communities. Community businesses, especially community co-operatives, place democracy and concern for community at the heart of what they do and can provide an alternative way of working that has captured the interest of individuals, communities and businesses.
To improve access to support, CDS, CSS and the Plunkett Foundation offer a collaborative support package to help anyone considering setting up a community business in Scotland. A wide range of advice and practical support is available, including:
- Choosing the best business model
- Selecting a suitable legal structure
- Accessing funding
- Developing a community share offer
- Community engagement, including promoting a community share offer
- Company governance and managing the daily running of your business
- Specialist support for community business in rural communities
Our new video guide is a great introduction to the subject and the available support.
To find out more about Community Business Making it Easy visit: https://communitysharesscotland.org.uk/making-it-easy/