Earlier this month, the Scottish Government’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee hosted an evidence session on employee-owned businesses and co-operatives. I felt privileged to attend and provide evidence to the committee, alongside our Employee Ownership (EO) Ambassador Nick Kuenssberg and two of our Consortium Champions; Nathalie Agnew and Joanna Dewar-Gibb.
The session covered the different models, the support available to those looking to adopt such ways of working and the different ways in which many businesses have already benefited.
Overall, the committee hearing has cast a spotlight on inclusive business models and demonstrated their value to Scotland’s policy-makers, which will do a great deal to nurture new thinking and action. I look forward to hearing further outcomes from the review in the coming months.
Also this month, I attended the fourth annual Robert Oakeshott lecture, which commemorates the founder of the Employee Ownership Association. Delivered by political economist Will Hutton, the presentation reflected on the need to reconsider how we think about ownership and purpose when it comes to doing business.
He argued that purposeful companies should have a moral core, seeking profit but not for the benefit of external stakeholders and no one else. This, Will explained, would be enhanced by ‘anchor owners’ – shareholders who have a long-term, vested interest in the business, its people and its future.
On this, he highlighted the role EO can play in driving the growth of such businesses in the UK. And given the established link between EO companies and increased productivity, innovation and long-term sustainability, this is a salient point.
You can read more about the lecture here.
Finally, I’d also like to recommend reading SocialValueLab’s Better Business Better Scotland report published last month. Delivered with support from Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, CGI and Caledonian MacBrayne, the research included a nationwide survey of over 1,000 businesses of all shapes and sizes across Scotland.
The report discusses the current position of corporate responsibility in Scotland, and makes recommendations on what needs to be done to promote ethical leadership in Scottish businesses.
You can read the report in full here.
From the events, discussions and reports described above, it’s clear that Scotland’s entrepreneurs, employees and policy makers have an appetite for exploring new ways of working which make a greater contribution to the communities they serve.
This has brought inclusive models, particularly EO and consortium working, into focus.
To find out more about the various models and how we can help, visit our website.