The latest webinar in the Employee Ownership Explained series took place on Wednesday 21 September. This month, the focus was on the role of the legal adviser in employee ownership transactions. Having worked on a number of these transactions himself, Bruce Farquhar of Anderson Strathern gave an insightful overview of the process from a legal adviser’s perspective.
We’ve launched a new campaign to showcase the role inclusive business models can play in supporting the Scottish Government with its aim to create a fairer, stronger and more democratic economy, particularly following the COVID-19 pandemic.
To launch the campaign we commissioned a new survey which revealed that half of Scots (48%) agree the pandemic has provided an opportunity to make Scotland’s economy stronger and fairer, with under 35 year olds more even more likely to agree (59%). 64% also said that the pandemic has already made their business more socially responsible.
Scotland’s largest product design company Shore has become employee-owned, with over 30 members of staff given a stake in the business.
The company, which operates from Leith in Edinburgh, designs, engineers and develops class-leading drug delivery products, diagnostic devices and medical training products. It has a huge global customer base with over 80% of its customers in the USA, EU, Switzerland and Japan. Its clients include some of the world’s biggest medical and pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Amgen, Smith & Nephew, Eli Lilly and Ypsomed.Continue reading
The increasing interest in employee ownership was reinforced on Wednesday 16 September when our webinar attracted over 60 attendees. Dougie Rae, Partner, EQ Accountants has worked on a number of employee ownership transactions and shared his experience in what was agreed to be a tremendously valuable presentation, followed by a lively Q &A session.Continue reading
There is growing recognition of the value of community businesses, preserving community assets and generating economic value for their communities. COVID-19 has clearly demonstrated the importance of supporting communities to be innovative and take the step towards generating wealth locally, avoiding the return to normal economics.
In partnership with the Plunkett Foundation, and Community Shares Scotland, Co-operative Development Scotland ran their second Community Business: Making it Easy event this month providing key insight to the realities of establishing a community business and information about the support available.
Civil engineering firm MHB Consultants has become employee-owned, with 40 members of staff given a stake in the business.
Founded by managing director Hendrie Barbour in 2006, MHB Consultants is an engineering design consultancy specialising in bridge design, civil and geotechnical engineering, temporary works and land surveying. Together with fellow directors Fergus Aitchison and Alistair Gray, Hendrie has grown the firm organically to 40 staff, with headquarters in Glasgow and regional offices in Edinburgh and York. Clients include construction firms, transport agencies, local authorities, engineering consultants and private clients throughout the UK.
Earlier this year Co-operative Development Scotland were part of a group that organised and hosted an event called Community Shops & Pubs: Making it Easy. The event was designed to enable communities take action to secure the future of their local shop or pub by helping them to better understand what projects of this nature entail and the support that is available to them. This was a fantastic event was well attended by community groups from across Scotland who were able to access advice on fundraising, governance and community engagement. Attendees also had the opportunity to speak to those already running community businesses and to learn from their experience.
On the day we caught up with some of the speakers from the event to find out what key bits of advice they would give to community groups considering setting up their own community business.
Gillian Kirton, project manager for Co-operative Development Scotland was there on the day and shares some of the key insights.
As we continue to Celebrate Co-ops Fortnight, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to catch up with Co-operative Development Scotland client, Glasgow Canals Co-op. Anna Young, Project Manager for the organisation, took part in a Q&A with us so we could find out a bit more about the Co-op, its purpose and how they #KeepCooperating.Continue reading
Over the next two weeks we join our partners in celebrating Co-ops Fortnight. COVID-19 has left us facing extreme challenges for both public health and our economy, but positive lessons are being learned during this crisis, and we all want to harness this new culture of co-operation to change society for the better. Looking at this year’s theme of #KeepCooperating we caught up with Darah Zahran, team leader at Co-operative Development Scotland to get her take on why co-operatives will play a key part in our economic future.Continue reading
As our thoughts turn to what our economy will look like post COVID-19, there are calls not to return to business as usual. There is an opportunity to create a fairer and more democratic alternative to what we’ve had in the past and community wealth building and co-operative business models will play a key role in that.
In our latest blog, we catch up with Suzanne Orchard, our specialist advisor for co-operatives to find out more about community co-operatives and why communities in Scotland are turning to this model to both safeguard vital local assets but also to generate economic benefit for the areas they live in.
Although the effects of COVID-19 are still being felt across the globe, there are good news stories coming through and in our new blog article Clare Alexander, head of Co-operative Development Scotland, discusses these in more detail along with what is happening in the employee ownership sector.Continue reading
As we feel the unprecedented effects of COVID-19, the team at Co-operative Development Scotland want to offer our support in this incredibly difficult time to our clients.
The changes we have seen to every aspect of our lives at the moment may be overwhelming, but we would like to do what we can to help you with the immediate challenges your business or co-operative may be facing by signposting to the network of support available from the government and key partners. Links and details about support available are listed below.
Research carried out by Women’s Enterprise Scotland shows that the contribution made by female-owned businesses to the Scottish economy continues to grow. The GVA of the sector grew from £5bn in 2012 to £8.8bn in 2015 – a 76% increase – while it is now responsible for creating 231k Scottish jobs – up from 153k in 2012.We have also seen a rise in the number of female-fronted businesses in the employee ownership sector, with several of the businesses transitioning to employee ownership being owned or run by women.
Collaborating with other businesses can bring a number of benefits such as enhanced profile, shared resources and knowledge, and the reduction of costs and risk when exploring new markets and innovations. Increasingly, businesses are also coming together to access larger contracts.
By Clare Alexander, head of Co-operative Development Scotland
2019 was another busy year for Co-operative Development Scotland, with our team working hard to spread the word about the benefits of co-operative business models and offer expert support and guidance to businesses across Scotland.
Collaborating with others can be a highly effective way for a business to drive growth and innovation whilst sharing the associated costs and risks.
However, when it comes to forming or joining a consortium, what should a business consider? How does the process work and what are the specific benefits that can be delivered?
Stornoway-based production company MacTV recently joined the growing number of employee-owned businesses in Scotland, with 18 employees given a stake in the business.
Established in 2001, award-winning MacTV is the largest independent TV company in the Highlands and Islands. Specialising in factual documentary, arts and music programmes in both Gaelic and English, the company is one of the biggest producers of programming for BBC ALBA. Its main production base is in the Hebrides, with staff also in the central belt, and in recent years the company has also been involved in a variety of international co-productions, working with companies in Canada, Ireland, Iceland and Wales.
When managing director Bill Morrison began to look ahead to his retirement, there were a number of considerations, including a preference to try and ensure that the business remained based in Stornoway, and that the company’s positive community ethos and culture remained at its core. Bill identified employee ownership as a potential ideal solution, and he subsequently got in touch with Highlands and Islands Enterprise to explore the option in more detail. From there, he was introduced to Co-operative Development Scotland. We caught up with Bill to find out more.
“In the 18 years since it was established, the hugely talented and hardworking team at MacTV has helped build a highly regarded production company which is recognised at both a national and international level for producing important and compelling programming with Scotland’s unique spirit at its heart. With a workforce truly rooted in the community, the passion, skills and local knowledge of our staff is vital to the quality of our output.
“A traditional trade sale may have seen us bought by a competitor, potentially risking job security and compromising our offering. Employee ownership ensures that the company is owned by and run for the benefit of those most close to it, while providing ongoing economic benefit to the area by anchoring the work and jobs in the local community. Our new employee owners now have an increased stake in their own future, with a say in the business, empowering them to shape its direction and drive growth.”
An Employee Ownership Trust has been formed which will hold 90% of the shares on behalf of the employees. The process was managed by 4-consulting, with legal services provided by Blackadders and accountancy support from Mann Judd Gordon.
If you have a question or you want to talk about how employee ownership can help you, please get in touch with us here using the ‘expert support’ option.
Glasgow-based care provider Aspire recently joined the growing number of employee-owned businesses in Scotland, with 186 social care employees across the organisation being given a stake in the business.
Aspire provides a range of services including Self-Directed Support, Intensive/Complex Home Care, Homelessness Emergency Accommodation and Resettlement, Alcohol-Related Brain Injuries Housing Support, Care at Home, Criminal Justice and Young Care Leavers Services. Since 2011 Aspire has annually won a raft of Scottish Care National Awards.
Aspire was established in 2002 by Peter Millar, who has over 47 years’ experience in social work and community care including planning, commissioning, senior management, and developing and delivering services within Local Authorities and the NHS in Scotland. We caught up with Peter to hear more about his decision to sell the company to its staff.
“Employee ownership is wholly consistent with Aspire’s ethos and values. We are all about empowering people to achieve a better life and a more self-directed and optimistic future. Whilst that approach fundamentally underpins our work with the individuals we have the privilege of working alongside and supporting in the community, it is also highly applicable to our relationship with our employees.
Employee Ownership enables us to elevate the status of our employees, enhance their opportunities to be more involved in contributing to the growth and development of Aspire, and allows all of those employees to equitably share the benefits from Aspire’s future successes.
“Employee Ownership therefore provides Aspire with a stronger, more inclusive, collaborative and equitable model. In addition to giving all employees a real stake in the organisation, it also secures Aspire’s position as a high quality provider of social care services in Scotland and an organisation that consistently makes a positive difference to individuals’ lives and to their local communities.
“I’m delighted that Aspire Housing and Personal Development Services is in the hands of our committed and highly talented team who have been overwhelmingly positive about this important development for our organisation and are now even more enthusiastic about it. We have a superb senior management team and excellent employee trustees and staff and we are all really excited about the future.”
Aspire now has a Trust board which includes two elected employee trustees, Euan Jessiman and Cameron Gilchrist.
Cameron added: “On behalf of the whole team, I’d like to give a huge thanks to Peter for giving us the amazing opportunity to share the ownership of Aspire – which has such a positive impact on so many lives – and there’s something very meaningful, for both the whole team and the people we support, in becoming employee owned.”
If you have a question or you want to talk about how employee ownership can help you, please get in touch with us here using the ‘expert support’ option.
For family businesses, planning for succession is one of the biggest challenges they will face and an effective succession solution is critical to their long-term success. While research indicates that approximately 73% of family businesses want to keep the business in the family, this isn’t always possible. Only 12% of family-owned businesses in Scotland are passed down to the second generation and just 7% remain in the family for three generations or more. Despite these figures, less than half of Scotland’s family-owned businesses have a succession plan in place.
Glen Dott, an employee ownership adviser at Co-operative Development Scotland, discusses some of the issues family businesses need to consider when looking at their succession options, and why employee ownership can sometimes be the most effective solution.
“Sometimes family business owners can bury their heads when it comes to the daunting task of planning for their exit. Yet, it is a vital decision which ultimately determines the company’s future. Rather than viewing it as a necessary evil, business owners should start to recognise succession planning as a potential opportunity for their company to evolve and grow.
“Employee ownership is one solution which offers these opportunities and can be an excellent fit for family businesses for a number of reasons. First of all, it enables the vendor to exit on their terms, giving them a fair price and allowing them substantial control over the process.
“Secondly, it roots the business in its community, keeping skills in the area and retaining jobs locally for workforces that are often long-serving and loyal. Thirdly, by handing control over to those who know it best, the values and ethos on which the company was founded, frequently at the heart of family-run businesses, can be preserved for generations to come.
“Finally, evidence demonstrates that employee-owned companies benefit from a more engaged workforce, which can boost productivity, encourage innovation, and ultimately drive growth and profitability. It can be encouraging and comforting for founders to feel that the businesses they have spent years of their lives building with their families will continue to go from strength-to-strength into the future, and that the employees will reap the rewards of this.
“The past couple of years have seen family-owned businesses including Auchrannie leisure resort in Arran, Harvey Maps in Doune, North Berwick-based Jerba Campervans and Beauly institution The Priory Hotel all move to employee ownership after recognising the suitability of the model as a succession solution and its potential for driving future business success. We expect take-up of the model will continue to accelerate in future years, as more and more businesses throughout Scotland’s business community become aware of the benefits.
“Succession planning should not be overlooked and family business owners looking for a smooth exit which secures the best possible future for their business should seek professional advice on their options at an early stage.”
There are around 110 employee-owned companies operating, with approximately 7,500 employee-owners generating a combined turnover of around £950 million. In recent years, the model has proved particularly popular with businesses operating in the care sector. Clare Alexander, head of Co-operative Development Scotland, shares their stories and explores why they are drawn to employee ownership.
Employee ownership has consistently shown to improve staff engagement and wellbeing, which in the care sector, leads to better patient experience and outcomes. As owners, employees also have a say in how the business is run, and clients and their families are reassured that the business will remain rooted in the area and be run for the benefit of local people.
These benefits are clearly demonstrated by Highland Home Carers, Stewartry Care, Paramount Care, Caledonia Social Care, and Aspire Housing and Personal Development Services.
Highland Home Carers (HHC) was founded in 1994 and became employee-owned in 2004. Since then, the business has grown to become one of the largest independent providers of home care and support services in Scotland with over 500 staff.
The company aims to deliver the highest possible standards of care, enabling people in the Highlands to remain in their homes and in their local communities for as long as possible. Moving into employee-ownership has ensured that HHC’s unique ethos was secure and provided a platform for growth.
Dumfries and Galloway-based Stewartry Care also became an employee owned company in 2004. Turnover increased by 16% in the first year and profitability by 39% and the company has continued to grow. Employees benefit from being informed on performance and having a say, with the opportunity to stand for election as a Director or Trustee of the company. The firm was awarded Care at Home Provider of the Year in the Scottish Care Awards 2018, with clients benefiting from a highly motivated care team.
Paramount Care, set up in 2000 by nurse Ruth Smyth who had a vision of a personalised care service that placed people at its heart, became employee-owned in 2017. It operates throughout Fife, Tayside, Perthshire and Clackmannanshire, delivering a range of services within people’s homes and within residential care homes for the public and private sectors.
Paramount was founded with the aim of providing a personal and approachable care service, where clients or employees wouldn’t have to call bases in locations like London or Birmingham whenever they had a query. Its aim was to provide a high quality of care with close and trusting relationships between carers and clients. Ruth felt that these qualities, which set Paramount apart from other care firms, could be compromised if it was bought over by one of them.
By selling it to an Employee Ownership Trust, Paramount Care continues to operate as an independent company rooted in the local area, run by people who care about it.
Caledonia Social Care (CSC) delivers care at home services throughout central Scotland and launched as an employee-owned enterprise on EO Day 2017 (30 June).
The launch of CSC represented a real boost to Scotland’s care sector, with an empowered workforce of 150 employee owners committed to providing an exceptional level of care to 480 clients. The firm benefits from high levels of colleague engagement, fair employment practices and lower staff turnover which helps lead to better outcomes for staff and service users.
The most recent care provider in Scotland to become employee-owned is Aspire Housing and Personal Development Services, which made the move in June 2019 with 186 social care employees becoming owners.
Aspire is passionate about empowering the individuals it supports to achieve a better life and a more self-directed and optimistic future, and employee ownership was an effective way to demonstrate this commitment to its employees as well. It enhances their opportunities to be more involved in contributing to the growth and development of the business, and allows them to equitably share the benefits from Aspire’s future successes.
In a sector where attracting and retaining the best people can have such a significant impact on performance, it’s easy to see why a business model which motivates, empowers and rewards them stands out. We look forward to more care providers recognising the benefits of the model and supporting them to become employee-owned in the future.