It seems to come round quicker each year but as we rapidly approach 2024 and thoughts turn to plans for the next 12 months, we always like to take time to reflect on what has been achieved in the previous year. And it’s certainly been a busy one! We caught up with some of our team members and asked them to share what their highlights of 2024 have been.

Team Leader, Darah Zahran
“As we get to the end of 2023 there have been so many highlights for the team that it’s hard to choose a favourite but I think the most exciting area for me has been the positive focus on the role and value of inclusive models in the policy landscape for Scotland.  The commitment to increasing the number of  co-ops, social enterprises and employee owned businesses as part of our national economic goals has been a great incentive for policy makers, academics, practitioners and, most importantly, Scotland’s wealth of social entrepreneurs to plan how we do more to shine a light on the significant contribution that these businesses make to our economy and wellbeing, not to mention their importance in a fairer and greener Scotland.

The activities you will read about below highlight the growing appetite and commitment all of our partners have shown to help us promote the value, resilience, and potential each inclusive model can bring to their own community and our shared economy. I believe we’re leaving the year on a real high and I look forward to doing much more of the same as well as finding new exciting activities with both long-standing and new partners in 2024.”

Marketing and Communications Project Manager, Angela Wardrope
The Employee Ownership Learning Journey we hosted in February was a huge success. It was the first event of its type that we have organised since the pandemic and it was really exciting to be back out visiting employee-owned businesses. Over 40 people attended at various parts of the two-day event including current employee-owned companies, those considering employee ownership, advisers and other interested individuals. With speakers from Woolard and Henry, Accord Energy Solutions, 20/20 Project Management, Union Industries, Scott and Fyfe, STAR- Dundee and Merlin ERD we had a packed and inciteful agenda. You can read our full summary here. It was an absolute pleasure to host this event and after receiving such positive feedback from our participants , the Learning Journey will be returning in 2024. Keep an eye on our social media channels for updates.”

Project Manager, Gillian Kirton
“This year saw Co-operative Development Scotland design and launch a two-part engagement programme around Community Wealth Building. Aimed at front line business and community advisors, and other interested parties from across the wide range of other support bodies, 2 masterclasses were delivered which demonstrated how inclusive business models contribute to the Plural Ownership pillar of CWB.  Following those, we engaged with 15 key partners who delivered 4 one-hour webinars which focussed on the other 4 pillars of CWB – Spending/Procurement; Workforce, Finance and Land/Property.  The programme has been met with real enthusiasm from our guest speakers who have been delighted to get the opportunity to show how they can support this key policy.  And also from the 430 registrations by colleagues , who will be better equipped to support the communities and businesses they work with.”  

The programme runs again between January and March 2024. Find out more about our role in Community Wealth Building here.

Specialist Advisor, Suzanne Orchard
“This year has been a particularly exciting one in terms of the enquiries we have received. Back in 2022, in response to feedback, there was a significant shift in how we support co-operatives. We extended our services to both new and established organisations and took steps to proactively raise awareness and support a wider variety of models such as platform and worker co-ops. It’s this year that we have started to see the impact of this decision with more varied enquiries coming through to us a result. It been really refreshing seeing the change. Our newly published case studies from Kooble, Slaghammers and New Leaf co-ops show the variety and potential of the co-ops we work with.”

View our case studies here.

Specialist Advisor, Stewart MacGregor
“One of the key activities that Co-operative Development Scotland runs is its programme of succession masterclasses. The longstanding programme, aimed at business owners considering an exit from their company, gives attendees the opportunity to hear direct from the other businesses who have opted for employee ownership as a succession route. This year I got the opportunity to step in to host some of these events featuring a range of businesses including Narro Associates Livingston James, Pacific Building and Esteem Training. It was fantastic to hear from such a variety of speakers and the businesses attending and considering employee ownership benefit greatly from hearing form those with experience of employee ownership directly. We look forward to hosting Microtech, Caley Timber, Shuttle Buses and Alternative Systems Protection for our next events in the new year.”

View the programme and book here.

Specialist Advisor, Glen Dott
“The EO Podcast series continues to go from strength to strength and this year we recorded and published seven new episodes featuring employee-owned Accord Energy Solutions, Swansons Food Wholesalers, Union Industries, Auchrannie Resort, Quantics Biostatistics, Esteem Training Ltd and employee ownership specialist adviser Carole Leslie from Ownership Associates.. The series interviews a range of guests, from founders and staff of employee-owned businesses to specialist employee ownership advisers and members of the legal and accounting profession with experience in employee ownership transactions. These discussions are an excellent resource for those considering employee ownership and our participants share a wealth of valuable experience. Stay tuned for more episodes coming in 2024.”

All episodes are available here.

Marketing and Communication Project Manager, Helen Dickson
“Right back at the start of 2023 we kicked off recording for a new suite of videos featuring our specialists, Glen, Stewart and Suzanne. We have created a new video guide made up of five short videos which introduce the models we most often help businesses implement. These include worker, platform, community and consortium co-operatives and employee-ownership. It has been one of my favourite projects to work on to date and it’s great to produce something that is really useful both for our client base but also for other business support services. We’re working on extending the series and will be publishing more content in 2024.”

Watch the full guide here.

Merry Christmas from Co-operative Development Scotland