Tag: co-operative consortium model

Creative Consortium Sheds Light on Collaboration Prize Benefits

Scottish Enterprise's David Smith pictured with Adventures in Light's Cristina Spiteri and Richard Anstice

Scottish Enterprise’s David Smith pictured with Adventures in Light’s Cristina Spiteri and Richard Anstice

This Thursday 12 November, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop launched the 2015/16 Collaboration Prize – which aims to encourage companies to consider establishing a consortium.

Businesses from the creative industries are being invited to submit entries by 17 December for a chance to win £5,000 cash and up to £5,000 in support to set their idea in motion. Up to five winners will be selected to take a share of the prize fund.

Adventures in Light was one of last year’s Collaboration Prize winners. The consortium brings together a 3D artist, filmmaker and carpenter to create dynamic projected installations for musical and cultural performances.

Here, chairman Cristina Spiteri describes Adventures in Light’s experience of collaboration and how they have benefited from winning the Prize.

It all began when Susanna, Richard and I met serendipitously in a field whilst VJ-ing at a festival. As artists we believed that by pooling our expertise we could offer customers something completely new and exciting – delivered seamlessly from idea creation to execution. We also found that working together enabled us to collectively use resources to purchase more advanced equipment and embark on more ambitious installations.

After a year working together (during which we provided installations for T in the Park, Edinburgh Science Festival and the Scottish Dance Theatre) we decided to enter the Collaboration Prize to formalise our partnership and reach new heights.

Judges liked our streamlined approach to tendering which delivered value for money to customers and maximum return for the business. For us, it makes sense for clients to be talking to one body rather than three individual businesses. It also means we can grow to involve other companies and artists to go for bigger jobs. As a prize winner, we received support from CDS to formalise our arrangement and set up a consortium. We also received consultancy assistance to develop our collaboration further as well as £5,000 cash to inject into the business.

Winning the prize has opened so many doors for us. It has allowed us to invest in essential new kit which has supported us to keep experimenting and inventing – something all creative businesses should do. We’ve also had the opportunity to work on some fantastic new projects including the International Science Festival and the Kelburn Garden Party.

Collaborating is now at the core of our business. It has allowed us to bring in specialist skills, and together craft something truly unique and far beyond what we could produce on our own.

Our advice to anyone considering entering the Prize is ‘go for it’. It’s a fantastic opportunity and it has really helped us to grow and succeed.

Entries to the competition must be submitted by midnight, December 17. To enter, go towww.scottish-enterprise.com/collaborationprize.

Support with preparing submissions is available from CDS. For more information email info@cdscotland.co.uk.

The Collaboration Prize was launched by Scottish Enterprise (SE), in partnership with Creative Scotland, Cultural Enterprise Office, Interactive Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), and delivered by Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS).

Real Food, Real Folk – Celebrating Glasgow’s Flair for Good Food

LETS-EAT-GLASGOW logoA group of leading Glasgow chefs have formed a new co-operative – Real Food, Real Folk – which aims to promote the city as a culinary destination while also tackling issues relating to food poverty in the west of Scotland.

Here, CDS specialist advisor Ralph Leishman, who supported Real Food, Real Folk with the development of its consortium model, explains how through collaborative working, the newly formed company is benefitting the businesses involved and the wider community.

Initiated in Glasgow in 2014 by Colin Clydesdale and Carol Wright of the Ubiquitous Chip restaurant, Real Food, Real Folk is a not-for-profit consortium which counts chefs from renowned city eateries including Cail Bruich, The Crabshakk, The Gannet, Ox and Finch and Stravaigin among its members.

As a movement, it is underpinned by a founding ethos that chefs and producers who are truly passionate about food should share their expertise with more than just their customers.

And by working together to host major food events in the city the group aims to establish Glasgow’s place on the Scottish food map while building connections between local people and the fantastic produce available on their doorsteps.

As 2015 is Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink, this year provides Real Food, Real Folk with an ideal platform to launch its message. In September (5-6), the co-operative will host ‘Let’s Eat Glasgow!’ a pop-up market and restaurant festival in Finnieston developed around the theme of social inclusion.

Supported by £20,000 funding from Scottish Enterprise, with funding from other sources also currently being sought, the weekend will include a West of Scotland producers’ market, food demonstrations and meet-the-livestock events. During the day, a range of exciting dishes prepared by the co-operative’s well-known chefs will be on offer at just £5 per plate.

Real Food, Real Folk also plans to donate ten stalls at the event to established community groups involved in addressing food poverty in Glasgow, including Locavore, Plan Bee, The Freedom Bakery and Milk Cafe.

Proceeds from ‘Let’s Eat Glasgow!’ will fund the co-operative’s ongoing work in social inclusion and education. It is already working with children through after-school clubs and with mothers in deprived areas of the city.

The ambitious group also has exciting plans for 2016. The consortium’s next event – the BIG Table – will serve dishes from some of Glasgow’s most exciting restaurants and producers to 1000 people.

Guests will have the chance to purchase a ‘1 for 2’ ticket, which buys an additional place at The BIG Table for someone in the City suffering from food poverty.

To find out more about ‘Let’s Eat Glasgow!’ visit: www.letseatglasgow.co.uk

New Chair reflects on 40 years of championing co-operative business models.


Dick Philbrick, Chairman of Clansman Dynamics, is the newly appointed Chair of Co-operative Development Scotland.   




Here he explains how his passion for co-operative models has underpinned a successful business career of 40 years.

You could say I’ve been on a forty year journey of promoting and developing co-operative or employee owned structures. My interest in the sector was first sparked on a visit to work in a kibbutz in Israel in the early 1970’s.

There I was struck by the animated debates surrounding the election of the new canning factory manager and the easy and informal relations that existed between all those who worked in the factory.

Canning beans and cucumbers was not a great job but the attitudes to work and towards each other were so refreshing compared to those in the Birkenhead shipyard where I was training.  I discovered that there really was a better way to organise work.

Almost 40 years later, in 2009, we took Clansman Dynamics into employee ownership (Clansman is an engineering company that designs and builds large robots for foundries and forges – see www.clansmandynamics.com).  Clansman does not have the structure of a pure co-operative, but everybody now has a stake in the business, everybody has the same vote and the business has thrived since we made the change.  

It’s why we have introduced coke and pizza meetings where members of staff present on company results so that everyone feels engaged. At Clansman we want our team to act and think like owners and the results are empowering for our workforce.

I feel compelled to spread the word that working within a different structure can be fairer and more rewarding, but it boosts profit margins too – all academic studies that compare comparable businesses support this.  So my message to those within Scotland who look enviously at Germany’s manufacturing sector, which is three times the size of ours, is that we can inspire our workforce by changing our structures.  Let’s inspire our workforce by giving them more responsibility.

I’m not just talking about the manufacturing sector here.  The open day at the Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative earlier this year highlighted a successful retail business competing in a vigorous market. It showed that co-operatives, community enterprises and employee owned businesses are far from the idle talking shops their detractors would have us believe but instead deliver prosperity.

Clansman has dealt with foundry businesses within the Mondragon movement in the Basque country, in Spain for 15 years. We have learnt, to our cost, there is nothing whatsoever that is undynamic about their buyers and engineers!

And I feel the experience that Clansman has gained from collaborating and co-operating with small companies around the world has shown me clearly how a little Scottish company can compete successfully in Brazil and Beijing.  We are bringing 30 of our collaborating partners to East Kilbride in three weeks’ time for a two day meeting.  The co-operative consortium model can be the way for small companies to get into new markets.    

I’m looking forward to working alongside Co-operative Development Scotland who share my zeal for promoting a better way of doing business. I pledge to give any support I can along with other members of the Board. It’s a fantastic opportunity to help spread the word about the benefits that collaborating, co-operating and sharing ownership provide.  

It is so easy for those of us who are familiar with the model to assume that everyone out there is familiar with the benefits, but that’s not the case, as confirmed by the recent Nuttall report. For me the principles are the same in all of the models Co-operative Development Scotland promotes. 

High salaries and new cars are nice to have but if your company is serious about boosting its productivity there can be no substitute for a workforce coming together for a common purpose. A company that runs as a team in both thought and deed is one that will maximise its resources and output.


Co-operative Development Scotland is a Scottish Enterprise subsidiary, established to help companies grow by setting up consortium, employee-owned and community businesses. It works in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

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