Sarah DeasLast year was another busy year for Co-operative Development Scotland with continued success in promoting collaborative and employee ownership business models.

Here, chief executive Sarah Deas reflects on its work and how the future direction ties into the Scottish Government’s Economic Strategy.

Collaboration and employee ownership continue to be attractive options for businesses and last year we supported 30 new ventures and buy-outs.

Of these, 20 were consortia in key sectors including food and drink, tourism, renewables and creative industries.

Another notable success was our Collaboration Prize – which offered £10,000 to winners for a new co-operative venture.  We had many highly impressive entries, with Adventures in Light, The Scottish Honey and Beeswax Consortium and Scottish Craft Distillers triumphing.

We continued to build relationships with co-operative development agencies in USA, Canada and Europe while also strengthening our links with Mondragon in Spain’s Basque region.

Our media outreach was also impressive, generating over 260 million opportunities to see our messages and more than 150,000 views of content on our social media channels – showing there is a real appetite for insight into the models.

Iimage2n March of this year, the Scottish Government published their new Economic Strategy. This outlined four key areas known as the ‘four I’s’ –innovation, internationalisation, investment and inclusive growth.

We firmly believe that both collaborative and employee ownership business models contribute to the achievement of these four themes and will play an important role in driving success over the coming years.

Want to learn more about our work in 2014/15? Read our annual review in full.