Tag: Collaboration Prize

COLLABORATION PRIZE WINNER SPOTLIGHT – Healthworks

We’ll be taking a closer look at each of our Collaboration Prize winners and learning more about their plans for the future. Next up is Healthworks…

Healthworks Consortium, L-R Niall Gosman, Marney Ackroyd, Karen Davidson, Kevin Dewar

Healthworks members Niall Gosman, Marney Ackroyd, Karen Davidson, Kevin Dewar

Healthworks is a new consortium formed of health and wellbeing professionals based in East Lothian.  It works in partnership with businesses to optimise their employees’ physical, psychological and personal wellbeing,

Comprising four member businesses, Healthworks offers a range of expertise in areas including physiotherapy, nutrition, psychological therapies and counselling, fitness training, behavioural risk management training and employee health assessments.  Working with businesses to identify the health and behavioural risks and barriers that prevent them from getting the best from their employees, Healthworks develops innovative, integrated health and wellbeing services and solutions that clients can ‘own’.  Each service is designed to address the unique needs and culture of the individual business and delivered in the way that best meets their needs.

Karen Davison from Healthworks spoke to us about winning the Prize:  “We are thrilled to have been selected as one of the winners and are looking forward to working together to develop programmes which will have a wide-reaching benefit for both employees and their employers. The generous prize will help us brand, package and promote our offering to get it in front of the right people, as well as enable us to develop new resources and tools to boost the services we can deliver, both face to face and online.

“Working together in this manner is beneficial for many reasons – not only does it allow us to access more opportunities and secure larger scale contracts, it also gives us all an excellent degree of professional satisfaction. Delivering a truly comprehensive service that reflects the many intricate aspects of an individual’s health and wellbeing requires a tailored approach incorporating expert knowledge and experience across a range of disciplines. We believe collaboration is the most effective way of providing this, and are hopeful that we can continue to develop our offering as we are joined by members in further areas of expertise.”

Healthworks Consortium, L-R Kevin Dewar, Karen Davidson, Niall Gosman, Marney Ackroyd

The member businesses in Healthworks are:

  • Dovetail Partnerships (North) Ltd, East Lothian
  • First for Fitness, East Lothian
  • Midlothian Physiotherapy LLP, Midlothian
  • Marney Ackroyd, Edinburgh

Collaborate to access new markets

Karen McLeod manages the export advisory service at Scottish Development International (SDI), the international arm of Scottish Enterprise.  SDI offers support to help Scottish Businesses trade overseas

Last year a record number of Scottish businesses, large and small, started thinking globally and branched out overseas.  We spoke to Karen to find out why it’s important to consider selling internationally and the ways in which you can do it successfully.

Why is exporting important? 

Overseas markets have become increasingly important to the Scottish economy and in 2014 Scotland’s international exports were valued at £27.5 billion*, a 17.3% increase from 2010.

Our research shows that many overseas markets are underserved and there is demand for Scottish products and services internationally. This, paired with the fact that SDI supported 2,500 businesses to export last year, shows that there is opportunity and the ambition for exporting to continue to grow.

What are the benefits?

Trading abroad can boost your profile, credibility and bottom line.  That applies whether you’re trading with established markets such as the EU and USA, or high-growth markets like Brazil, China, India, Colombia and Vietnam.

International markets like these offer you access to new customers, revenue and ideas. Crucially, they enable you to spread your business risk, increase the commercial lifespan of your products and services and secure economies of scale which are not always possible at home. In fact, exporting is now considered essential for Scottish businesses that want to safeguard future growth.

The figures are compelling, showing that those firms that choose to export become 34% more productive in their first year** while those already exporting achieve 59% faster productivity growth than non-exporters**, positively impacting on staffing and financial performance.

Doing business overseas brings further benefits such as fostering ideas for new products and services. Once a company has ‘dipped their toe’ into a new market this in turn tends to increase confidence and ambition and provides the momentum for further growth through exporting.

What are the barriers and how can you overcome them?

Exporting can seem daunting to smaller businesses and the thought of going it alone can often be off putting and seen as high risk.  Collaborating with others can be a way to address those risks and make the most of the opportunities that exporting brings.

Collaboration for international markets

Businesses can collaborate using the consortium co-operative business model. This model allows businesses to come together for a shared purpose; to buy or sell in scale, market more effectively, share facilities or jointly bid for contracts.

There are good examples of Scottish consortiums already collaborating on international strategy.  Examples of shared activities include creation of a portfolio brand for export, consolidated shipping and a joint e-commerce activity.

Winning support with the Collaboration Prize

We are supporting this year’s Collaboration Prize which encourages firms to think collaboratively and pitch an idea for a new collaborative enterprise that will help them to access new markets. This could be a new sector or a geographical market including international markets.

The winners selected by the judging panel will receive £5,000 (to implement their collaborative idea), support to set up as a consortium co-operative, up to £5,000 business support (delivered by Scottish Enterprise or Highlands and Islands Enterprise) and access to export advisor support from my team.  This includes a wide variety of services such as:

  • an export advisory service, backed by international trade advisers, offering tailored support and guidance;
  • online tools to help you create an export plan;
  • and business intelligence from 43 global offices as well as events to explore opportunities and network with valuable contacts.

The Collaboration Prize is being delivered by Co-operative Development Scotland on behalf of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Island Enterprise in partnership with Business Gateway and the Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

 

Sources:

*Scottish Government Export Statistics Scotland 2014 publication – click here to read.

**UK Government UK Trade & Investment research publication – Bringing home the benefits: how to grow through exporting click here to read.

Collaboration: a step-by-step guide

Jaye Martin, CDS specialist advisor

Collaborating with others can be a highly effective way for a business to achieve growth, access new markets and drive innovation whilst sharing the associated costs and risks.

The Scottish Enterprise Collaboration Prize 2016/17 is currently open for entries and aims to raise awareness of the collaboration route among Scottish businesses.

The Prize is a fantastic opportunity for aspiring collaborators, and exploring the prospective benefits of forming or joining a consortium is highly encouraged in order to help businesses of all sizes reach their full potential.

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?

Here, CDS specialist advisor Jaye Martin shares a brief step-by-step guide to consortium working to help you determine whether or not collaboration is right for your business.

Step 1: Identify barriers to growth

For many small and micro-enterprises, lack of scale, time, finance or resources can all be barriers to accessing new markets, tendering for larger contracts or simply marketing services, and therefore barriers to growth.  These challenges will be familiar to many businesses, particularly those with small teams or those who provide unique or niche products and services.

Step 2: Look for a potential solution

Teaming up with other like-minded businesses and forming a consortium is an excellent way to break down these barriers. Suitable for businesses of all sizes operating in any sector, this model can help businesses grow by reducing the costs and risks associated with tackling new markets and investing in new products and services. It can also enable businesses to share resources such as back office functions and premises. Meanwhile, member businesses are able to retain their own brands, independence and control. You can find out more here.

Step 3: Find collaborators

Carefully identifying like-minded businesses to work with is crucial. Trust is a key factor. It can help if the businesses have worked together informally before. In most cases, member businesses operate in similar or complementary fields, although a lot will depend on the rationale for collaboration. You can read about the experience of a number of successful consortia here.

Step 4: Choose the right structure

The consortium co-operative model is an effective collaborative business structure. In simple terms it is an organisation run in a shared and equal way by and for the benefit of its members. Members are independent businesses and the consortium can be for any purpose which supports them, for example marketing, tendering, innovating or exporting. Co-operative Development Scotland has a track record in helping businesses and we’d be happy to help you explore the options. You can contact us here.

Step 5: Benefit from your collaboration

Collaborating can be a real game-changer for businesses. For example, one of last year’s Collaboration Prize winners, Ecosse from Above, was founded by three aerial photography companies and a web developer who wanted to create an online library providing high-quality aerial footage and images of Scotland at a reduced cost. Ecosse from Above has since built a library of over 5,000 high quality images and 500 affordable films from across the Scottish landscape which has grabbed the attention of tourism bodies such as VisitScotland as well as television and video production companies from all over the world.

Fellow winner ArchBlue Ltd, was founded by four organisations involved in providing complementary services to the heritage sector including 3D measuring and modelling, archaeological recording and visualisation, conservation planning and 3D printing. Working collaboratively has enabled the businesses to provide customers with a comprehensive approach to heritage site management as well as engaging methods of communicating a site’s story to the public. The consortium used its prize winnings to add strength to tender submissions and establish a brand identity.

As well as supporting businesses to access new markets, share risks and costs and develop new products or services, many businesses involved in consortium working also report increased confidence, better business connections, improved knowledge-sharing and an enhanced profile.

The benefits are tangible and numerous – and definitely worth exploring when considering the future of your business.

For more information about the Collaboration Prize, including how to enter and requesting an application pack, visit here.

Collaboration: A step-by-step guide

Jaye Martin 03

Collaboration brings a number of benefits – including business growth, reduced costs and extra resources –but when should a business join or form a consortium? How does it go about doing so? And what specific benefits can it deliver?

Here, CDS specialist advisor Jaye Martin shares a brief step-by-step guide to consortium working.

Step 1: Identify barriers to growth
For many small and micro-enterprises, lack of scale, time, finance or resources can be a barrier to accessing new markets, tendering for larger contracts or simply marketing services. These challenges will be familiar to many businesses, particularly those with small teams or those who provide unique or niche products and services.

Step 2: Look for a potential solution
Teaming up with other like-minded businesses and forming a consortium is an excellent way to break down these barriers. Suitable for businesses of all sizes operating in any sector, this model can help businesses grow by reducing the costs and risks associated with tackling new markets and investing in new products and services. It can also enable businesses to share resources such as back office functions and premises. Meanwhile, member businesses are able to retain their own brands, independence and control. You can find out more here.

Step 3: Find collaborators
Carefully identifying like-minded businesses to work with is crucial. Trust is a key factor. It can help if the businesses have worked together informally before. In most cases, member businesses operate in similar or complementary fields, although a lot will depend on the rationale for collaboration. You can read about the experience of a number of successful consortia here.

Step 4: Choose the right structure
The consortium co-operative model is an effective collaborative business structure. In simple terms it is an organisation run in a shared and equal way by and for the benefit of its members. Members are independent businesses and the consortium can be for any purpose which supports them, for example marketing, tendering, innovating or exporting. Co-operative Development Scotland has a track record in helping businesses and we’d be happy to help you explore the options. You can contact us here.

Step 5: Benefit from your collaboration
Collaborating can be a real game-changer for businesses. Collaborating can be a real game-changer for businesses. For example, through collaboration, Adventures in Light – an Edinburgh-based consortium which brings together a 3D artist, a film-maker and a carpenter – have been able to invest in essential new kit which has supported them to keep experimenting and inventing. This, in turn, has helped them work on bigger projects such as the International Science Festival and the Kelburn Garden Party.

As well as supporting businesses to access new markets, share risks and costs and develop new products or services, many businesses involved in consortium working also report increased confidence, better business connections, improved knowledge-sharing and an enhanced profile.

The benefits are tangible and numerous – and definitely worth exploring when considering the future of your business.

CDS can help you to explore the options, structure the consortium, and get more members involved. 

If you would like to find out more about collaborative business models, or if you would like to get in touch, visit here.

 

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).

Bright future ahead for Collaboration Prize winners

Adventures in LightAt the end of March, we announced the winners of our Collaboration Prize. One of those winners was Adventures in Light, an Edinburgh-based consortium which triumphed in our tendering category.

Here, chairwoman Cristina Spiteri discusses the group’s excitement at being named a winner and how they plan to use the prize money.

This is a hugely exciting time for Adventures in Light. There are three individuals in our group – a 3D artist, filmmaker and carpenter – and we have big plans and are ready to shine.

While we are individual businesses, we have been collaborating together for two years. In fact, we’ve already enjoyed a number of successes and have so far worked with the Edinburgh Science Festival, T in the Park, The Tinderbox Orchestra and Scottish Dance Theatre.

Adventures in LightBut when we found out there was a way for us to form a business from our collaboration, we were really excited. It’s absolutely perfect for us and we were already naturally working in that way.

Winning the Collaboration Prize will open up so many doors for us. Our vision is to create dynamic projected installations for musical and cultural performances.

Adventures in LightWe also have a focus on utilising projection mapping for brand promotion and interior design, something which is currently not available from one company in Scotland. And thanks to CDS and the Collaboration Prize, we can engage more prospective clients.

By working as a consortium, we can pool our expertise to allow for seamless ideas from creation to execution. The prize money will allow us to purchase more advanced equipment and embark on more ambitious installations.

It makes sense for clients to talk 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. Forming our official consortium is so exciting and offers so much growth potential for us.

Want to keep up-to-date with Adventures in Light? Follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Vimeo.

Eyes on the Prize: Scottish Mountain Bike Consortium

The big day is almost here – next week, we will be announcing the winners of this year’s Collaboration Prize.

Over the past weeks, we have revisited some of our previous winners including The Wee Agency, Music Co-OPERAtive Scotland and Screen Facilities Scotland.

Now we turn our attention to the Scottish Mountain Bike Consortium, who won the prize in 2013 after submitting an idea to capture a slice of Scotland’s cycling tourism market.

Six businesses from the Tayside, Fife and Angus area make up the consortium, which aims to develop family friendly cycling events across the country.

They used the £10,000 prize to buy new equipment and fund marketing, copywriting, website development and the making of a promotional video.

Stay tuned to cdsblog.co.uk next week for full details on this year’s Collaboration Prize winners.

Eyes on the Prize: Screen Facilities Scotland

In just under two weeks, we’ll be announcing the winners of this year’s Collaboration Prize.

Over recent weeks, we’ve been looking at past winners including The Wee Agency and Music Co-OPERAtive Scotland. Now, our focus turns to Screen Facilities Scotland (SFS).

SFS, winners of the competition in 2012, is a collaboration of Scottish-based film, television and commercials facilities companies.

Before joining forces, members felt that many lucrative contracts were being won by businesses based outside Scotland – particularly in the south-east of the UK.

By forming a consortium co-operative, they would be able to pitch for work in a more efficient and cohesive way. In the process, they could increase core business and help to grow the Scottish film, TV and commercials production sector.

They would also become a voice for the industry, pressing the cause for more support and facilities for production companies across the country.

We’ll be looking at a previous winner of the Collaboration Prize each week on CDSblog.co.uk, ahead of our big announcement…

Eyes on the prize – Music Co-OPERAtive Scotland

As we inch closer to the announcement of this year’s Collaboration Prize winners, we’re looking back at past successes.

We first showcased The Wee Agency and this week we turn our attention to Music Co-OPERATIVE Scotland.

In 2011, the Orchestra of Scottish Opera moved from full-time to part-time working. Keen to ensure a positive future, members chose to form a consortium co-operative to sell their services.

They entered the Collaboration Prize in 2012 and were selected as one of the winners. And with our support, they were able to make their collaborative dream a reality.

We’ll be looking at a previous winner of the Collaboration Prize each week on CDSblog.co.uk, ahead of our big announcement…

Eyes on the Prize – The Wee Agency

It’s almost time to reveal this year’s Collaboration Prize winners!

But before we unveil the lucky consortia each receiving  £10,000 to make their collaborative dream a reality, we wanted to take a look at some of our past winners who have gone on to great things.

First up is The Wee Agency, a collaboration between design specialists 2bcreative, IT company Alchemy+ and PR and digital marketing consultancy, Muckle Media.

They won the Collaboration Prize in 2013 and have since gone from strength to strength, working together to tender for contracts under one banner.

We’ll be looking at a previous winner of the Collaboration Prize each week on CDSblog.co.uk, ahead of our big announcement…

Memorable year for co-operative working

Sarah Deas resized2014 has been a busy year for Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), with interest in co-operative working higher than ever.

Here, CDS chief executive Sarah Deas reflects on the year and looks ahead to what 2015 may bring.

As we hurtle towards the end of 2014, it is a natural time to look back on the past 12 months. Last December, I remember fondly writing how the eyes of the world would be on Scotland throughout the year – and that certainly proved to be the case!

One shining moment was the XX Commonwealth Games, held in the always-friendly city of Glasgow. I was proud to serve as a Host City Volunteer at this spectacular event which will live long in the memory as an example of what can be achieved when we work together. CDS was delighted to contribute to Glasgow City Council’s (GCC) business event held during the Games. In fact, one of the highlights of the year was seeing GCC and its counterpart in the capital progress their commitment to be Co-operative Councils.Sarah Deas

This is a significant endorsement of co-operative working, which CDS is supporting through the provision of specialist advice. Co-operative working is now recognised as a means of achieving competitive advantage by businesses in a wide range of sectors and there is also growing interest in employee ownership – specifically as a succession solution – helped by the new tax incentives.

To tap further into that growing interest, we held five ‘successful succession’ events during the year. Kindly hosted by employee-owned companies – Aquascot, Galloway & MacLeod, Page\Park, Stewart Buchanan Gauges and Scott & Fyfe – these sessions gave those interested in the ownership model the opportunity to see how it works in practice.

We also engaged with Scotland’s professional advisers through our expert briefing sessions, tackling subjects including funding the employee buyout and employee share ownership.

David Narro Assoc 09

David Narro Associates celebrated becoming employee owned in August.

CDS helped a wide range of businesses across the year, including Fitwise and David Narro Associates, both of which made the transition to employee ownership. Scotland has a host of new employee owners, and hopefully they will find the newly-formed EOA Network Scotland useful – one to watch in 2015.

I was also grateful for the opportunity to visit Quebec for the International Summit of Cooperatives, a truly insightful conference. We heard from the Mondragon Corporation, often seen as an example of best practice when it comes to co-operative working. It is worth noting that the Basque region, where Mondragon is headquartered, is now looking to learn from the UK. Just last month, I welcomed a delegation from the Gipuzkoa province who visited some of our well-established employee-owned companies.

Finally, we once again offered companies in Scotland the chance to win £5,000 in cash and £5,000 in support to make their collaborative ideas a reality. The standard of entries to the Collaboration Prize this year was high, and all of us at CDS are excited to see who will follow in the footsteps of past winners the Scottish Mountain Bike Consortium and The Wee Agency.

In 2015 we anticipate interest in co-operative working to continue to grow as the benefits for staff, business and the economy are further demonstrated. While awareness is most definitely increasing, our job is to keep that momentum going. The growing desire for fairer, more inclusive approaches to working is an opportunity to further underline the virtues of the models – and we will continue to shout about it.

The year began with Kim Lowe, a managing director at John Lewis, calling for more businesses to consider a co-operative approach. I think it is clear that many have done just that, but more can and will be done in 2015.

2014 has been a memorable year in many ways, and I wish you all a happy, healthy and successfully prosperous 2015.

Your Collaboration Prize questions answered

Jaye Martin 03The Collaboration Prize aims to encourage companies to form a consortium to improve their combined business prospects, with up to three winners each receiving prizes of £5,000 in cash and £5,000 support.

This year’s competition is looking for applications that show how forming a consortium could improve marketing, tendering or innovation operations.

Ahead of Friday’s deadline for entries, CDS specialist adviser Jaye Martin answered questions on the competition in a live Twitter Q&A.

Want to work with others and do things bigger, better and faster? Then forming a consortium co-operative could be for you. The potential benefits are numerous:

  • Build a new collective brand and combine resources to reach bigger audiences.
  • Share the risks of expanding into new markets with your partners
  • Compete for larger, more valuable contracts
  • Gain a competitve advantage through economies of scale
  • Have an equal say in the running of the consortium co-operative

During last week’s Q&A, we answered a number of questions from interested parties:

 

 

 

The Collaboration Prize is open to all Scottish businesses, large or small and from any sector. There are three categories – marketing, tendering and innovating – with £10,000 available for each winner.

Remember – the deadline for entries is 3pm on Friday 28 November. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity!

Collaboration Prize continues to make a difference to winner

Joanna Dewar Gibb, right, with SFS member Amanda Millen

Joanna Dewar Gibb, right, with SFS member Amanda Millen

Screen Facilities Scotland (SFS) is one of the earliest winners of the Collaboration Prize, having formed in 2012 to enter during the inaugural year of the competition.

In the two years since winning the award the consortium, made up of Scottish-based film, television and commercials facilities, has flourished.

Here, Joanna Dewar Gibb, one of the directors of SFS, describes why winning the prize was so important to its development.

We were delighted to be one of three winners of the Collaboration Prize in 2012 and we continue to reap the rewards from that. Since we’ve formed as a consortium, we’ve gone from strength to strength and benefit in many different ways.

The seeds of our co-operative were well and truly planted before we spotted the opportunity to be considered for the prize, but when we did we were pleased to see the entry process was both manageable and straight forward. Our entry was completed and submitted with the minimum of fuss.

And that’s been the case the whole way through.  From being short-listed, to eventually winning and then formally establishing SFS, the whole process has been possible thanks to clear guidance, simple structures and succinct documentation provided by Co-operative Development Scotland.

???????????????????????

We have used the prize money in different ways. It gave us a cash boost while waiting for membership fees to come in during our first year, with the money spent across various activities including collaborative marketing materials our launch networking event and administration costs.

Each of our members has since benefitted from shared marketing and promotional activities, new networking opportunities, better engagement and participation across the creative industry sector and closer working with colleagues and clients, both new and old, all of which helps us work towards a stronger, busier future.

It is no exaggeration to say SFS would not be where it is today if the collaborative consortium business model did not exist and if the Collaboration Prize, comprising of valuable business advice and welcome cash, had not helped us to flourish.

Until we had formed, many lucrative contracts including those originating in Scotland, were won by businesses based elsewhere, particularly in the south-east of the UK, so hopefully SFS has made a difference not just to our own businesses, but to the whole Scottish film, television and commercials production sector.

Council’s ringing endorsement of co-operatives

GillianKirton-002The eyes of the world have been on Glasgow over the last week and a half as the city plays host to the Commonwealth Games.

Here, Gillian Kirton, Project Manager at Co-operative Development Scotland, looks at how the host city’s council is providing real support to co-operative businesses.

With almost 20 per cent of Scotland’s co-operatives residing in Glasgow, the ‘sector’ is thriving – these co-operatives employ almost 1400 individuals and account for £192m turnover per annum. Impressive numbers indeed.

To further enhance this, Glasgow City Council is one of just 21 Councils in the UK to commit to becoming a Co-operative Council and is certainly taking its commitment very seriously.

There’s real practical support available to companies and the council are putting their money where their mouth is – to date they have awarded 13 co-operatives a total of £210k to implement ‘transformational business development activities’.

people make glasgow

A further tranche of funding is now available with sums of between £2,500 and £25,000 available for eligible activity. And at a Glasgow Business Embassy event last week, it was announced that a pot of £3m will be available to support companies looking at business ownership transfer.

I’m confident we will see more companies following in the footsteps of Glasgow-based Page\Park and opting to transfer ownership to employees.

Co-operative Glasgow sees partnership working as key to successfully delivering their action plan and it was a pleasure to meet so many of those partners.

In collaboration with the Council, we delivered a seminar to many Business Gateway and other front line advisors. It gave them the opportunity to hear more about co-operatives, the impact they can make to the local economy, the many benefits of the model, and the support available to their clients.

Glasgow City Council logo

It’s fair to say that there was a lot of enthusiasm and excitement about the models – they see them as a perfect solution to meet the needs and growth aspirations of many of their clients.

CDS is delighted to continue to work in partnership with the Council, Business Gateway and other advisors to provide free advice and guidance to those businesses considering employee ownership and co-operative business models.

Our annual Collaboration Prize has seen some amazing success stories in Glasgow – Music Co-OPERAtive Scotland and Screen Facilities Scotland are going from strength to strength.

This year we will launch our Collaboration Prize on 1st October – up to three collaborative ideas will each gain a substantial £10k prize to get their idea off the ground. Will we see further success stories in Glasgow?  Watch this space!

Enjoy the Commonwealth Games – another exciting reason to celebrate all that Glasgow has to offer!

The Wee Agency hopes collaboration will bring big results

Eilidh Marshall headshotLast year, for a second consecutive year, CDS ran the Collaboration Prize – an opportunity for three businesses from across Scotland to each win £10,000 worth of cash and support to get their consortium business idea off the ground.

Working with Creative Scotland, CDS crowned Highland-based The Wee Agency with the creative sector prize. Eilidh Marshall from Muckle Media talks through the benefits of being part of a Scottish consortium.

It’s an exciting time to be part of The Wee Agency. Having just launched, we are delighted to have won the Co-operative Development Scotland Collaboration Prize.

According to Co-operative Development Scotland, there are 578 registered co-operative businesses in Scotland, and no doubt many more businesses collaborating behind the scenes. These businesses play a major role in driving economic growth with a combined turnover of £4bn and providing employment to 28,600 people.

Collaboration can have significant benefits – increased productivity, creativity and greater influence are just some. Working with different people outside your own agency can spark new ideas and give insight into the other specialities. All the while, individual businesses can retain their own brands; collaboration simply allows them to be part of something with greater impact.

Collaborating and combining skills makes things a lot simpler for clients too. There’s no need to brief different agencies or companies, no more juggling projects, reading through multiple proposals or duplication of tasks or costs. Clients are reassured that everything is taken care of by one company.

Compare it to say, building a house. Imagine one project manager presenting you with the options on how to achieve your ideal home – you don’t need to find an architect, builder, decorator, bathroom fitter, electrician or spend your time coordinating how they work together. You choose the end result you want and the team does the rest. 

And that’s how we work.

In an increasingly digital world, it’s important that companies have accessible and interesting websites that are marketed effectively – therefore increasing their chances of being seen by consumers. At The Wee Agency, we bring this together with 2bcreative providing the design, Alchemy+  bringing the IT and Muckle Media providing PR and marketing.

David Massey, managing director of Alchemy+, Nathalie Agnew MCIPR, director of Muckle Media and John Young, director of 2bcreative, represent the three firms that have formed The Wee Agency.

David Massey, managing director of Alchemy+, Nathalie Agnew MCIPR, director of Muckle Media and John Young, director of 2bcreative, represent the three firms that have formed The Wee Agency.

So how do projects with The Wee Agency work? 

  • After being briefed by the client on their needs and wants, we brainstorm to find the best creative idea that will sit at the centre of the campaign
  • We plan the project utilising the best channels to reach the audience
  • The design team then produce the creative material
  • Once approved, the web developers and IT team build the website
  • During this process, the PR and marketing team plan for the launch
  • The PR and marketing team reach out to media and run social media to drive people to engage

When working in the creative industries it’s important to be able to bounce ideas off each other which can then spark bigger and better solutions. The consortium approach enables us to do this efficiently.

Our multi-channel team condenses the workload for our clients and working together allows us to provide big results. Without the need to liaise between different agencies, our clients are able to concentrate on other aspects of their business. So whether it’s a start-up or an established organisation we’re working with, we can help make it a success.

Find out more about The Wee Agency at www.theweeagency.co.uk or follow us on Twitter to keep posted on the latest trends and news in the digital world @theweeagency

Take Five

Jaye Martin 03Jaye Martin is a specialist adviser who joined Co-operative Development Scotland this summer. Here she shares her experience of what it’s like to work at Scotland’s co-operative and employee-owned enterprise development organisation.

It’s already six months into my new role as a CDS specialist adviser, focussing on collaborative business models, so now is as good a time as any to pause for a moment and take stock of my top five experiences so far in what has been an exciting and challenging few months.

 

 1. The CDS Collaboration Prize

PrintThis has been a revelation for me as I’d never been involved behind the scenes of a competition before – unless you count making up a quiz sheet for Comic Relief to sell around my village when I was 12! We were overwhelmed with the quality of the collaborative ideas contained in the applications this year and it’ll be a valuable learning experience for me to be involved in the strategy sessions for the winners when they take place in due course. Excitingly, we are poised to announce our winners shortly so watch this space…

 

2. New consortia

We support so many groups of businesses and communities across Scotland in exploring and formalising their ideas for collaboration and I love the variety this work provides. To mention only a few of the new collaborations we’ve advised so far this year: Destination Stirling, the new tourism group supported by Stirling Council, Scottish Enterprise and VisitScotland; Scottish Mountain Biking Consortium, a group of like-minded businesses committed to developing the best family mountain biking experiences, packages and solutions in Scotland; and Community of Raasay Retail Association (CORRA), the community group behind the purchase of the only shop on Raasay.

 

3. Community shares

On my second day at CDS, I attended our Advisory Board session on ‘Community Shares – Realising the Potential’. Of great interest was a presentation by Hugh Rolo of the Community Shares Unit in England. Their newly launched dedicated web platform for community share issues, Microgenius, is a potential game-changer for this growing sector. We are seeing increasing interest in community co-operatives in Scotland, particularly in relation to renewable energy generation (wind, hydro) and broadband projects.

 

4. Tweeting

Another revelation. Somewhere between dinosaur and sceptic when it came to social media,CDS Twitter I can now see the real value in tweeting, blogging and their ilk – there is the potential to strike up dialogue with like-minded individuals and organisations and to spread the word about co-operative business models. Follow me @CDSjaye and us @cdscotland to find out more!

 

5. Collective Futures workshop

I was pleased to be asked to present on the consortium co-operative model at one of the Collective Futures workshops. This is an exploratory project to define the nature and form of co-operative business models used by designer/makers to sustain and grow their creative businesses. The project is itself a collaboration between Gray’s School of Art, University of the West of Scotland, Glasgow School of Art and a selection of residents who are practising designers/makers from all over Scotland. I was (unsurprisingly) impressed at the creativity used to facilitate the discussion on collectives, particularly the ‘mood boards’ which caused much hilarity (one included a photo of Katy Perry being blasted into outer space) but also revealed inner thoughts about the pros and cons of collaboration.

And as for my top moment outwith CDS…? It has to be when a boy from Dunblane lifted the Wimbledon trophy on that oven-hot day in July. Let’s hope the next six months are just as exciting!

 

2014: An exciting time to collaborate

Marc Crothall picture

The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) is an independent trade body comprising trade associations, individual businesses, marketing and local area tourism groups who earn their living from tourism or have an active interest in tourism.

Marc Crothall, CEO of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, explains why the organisation has partnered with this year’s Collaboration Prize at an exciting time for the Scottish Tourism industry.

The STA’s primary role is to lead, facilitate, co-ordinate and provide support to industry to help enable the successful delivery of the national strategy (Tourism Scotland 2020) objectives and vision. Other activities undertaken by the STA on behalf of its members are to collaborate with and represent industry views to government and agencies, offer advice and information to its members and enable strong networking opportunities across industry sectors.

We are recognised by government and public agencies as a credible and fully representative ‘voice of the Scottish industry,’ which Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS) has also acknowledged, and we are pleased to have been asked to work in partnership with them as a representative of the Scottish Tourism Industry.

The STA is delighted to support CDS’s Collaboration Prize as it focus’ on one of the key elements that underpins the National Strategy (Tourism Scotland 2020) “Collaboration”.

With the hook of a great £10,000 prize, the competition creates market opportunities, facilitates collaboration, endorses sustainable tourism and helps drive economic growth in the tourism sector. All of this contributes towards the Tourism Scotland vision in: “Making Scotland a destination of first choice for a high quality, value for money and memorable customer experience, delivered by skilled and passionate people.”

Tourism is one of the most important industries in the Scottish economy, generating £4.3bn from overnight visitors, employing 185,900 within the tourism growth sector and attracting 15 million visitors in last year alone.

Now is an exciting time to be a part of the Scottish Tourism sector which will grow exponentially in the coming years with three landmark events taking place next year when Scotland “Welcomes the World” in 2014 with our second year of homecoming and two of the world’s biggest sporting events: the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup.

These events are key to the tourism industry as they will not only give us the opportunity to showcase Scotland to the world, but will provide the stepping stones to delivering the growth ambition set out in Tourism 2020. Many opportunities will also be generated for our home grown talent to work together to succeed on the world stage and compete in the world market.

With these vast opportunities on the horizon the STA is looking forward to seeing the calibre of entrants that emerge from the Collaboration Prize this year and how they plan on taking advantage of these forthcoming key events. Fundamental elements we will be looking for in the proposals are: 

  • Innovative and creative concepts
  • Collaborative opportunities identified
  • Sustainable plans and projects
  • Valuable contribution to the Scottish Tourism sector
  • And most importantly, vision for future expansion and growth

The STA is looking forward to seeing what the future stars of the Scottish Tourism Industry have to offer.

If you are not yet a member of the Scottish Tourism Alliance for more information on membership please visit www.scottishtourismalliance.co.uk or email jean.kilpatrick@stalliance.co.uk

Come together to make this a summer of success for your business

Gillian Kirton 02What do three farmers from Dumfriesshire, 51 musicians from Scottish Opera and 12 Scottish Screen facilities companies have in common? Answer they all won funds through last year’s launch of the Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS) new Collaboration Prize.  Now the search is well underway to find 2013’s winning ideas. With less than one month to go until the competition closes, CDS Collaboration Prize project manager Gillian Kirton gives us the latest update. 

What do three Dumfriesshire farmers, 51 musicians from Scottish Opera and 12 Scottish screen facilities companies have in common? Answer: A desire to grow their business through collaboration.

As CDS Collaboration Prize project manager, it’s an exciting time for me.  With less than one month to application deadline, I’m waiting with baited breath to see the exciting and innovative ideas to come in this year.

Last year our competition was such a success that more than a dozen new business collaborations were established, often with different aims and objectives.  So here’s a wee taster of the sort of consortium co-operative that our prize has created:

  1. Scottish Woodlot Association was set up to enable individual foresters to rent small forest lots for timber production while helping landowners maximise their forestry potential.  It also gave them a way to share often expensive specialist equipment.
  2. iMAPcc offers dedicated team of drug discovery scientists, consultants and associates with complementary backgrounds and experience in small molecule and biopharmaceutical drug discovery.
  3. Burns Country Larder sees six Ayrshire producers of fine foods including haggis, cheesecakes, beers, deserts, chocolates and ice-creams collaborate to access events and shows all around the country.

But what about the farmers, musicians and screen facilities…our three worthy winners from 2012?

With the help of colleagues in Scottish Enterprise and Business Gateway, I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with these three groups over the last year or so, joining them on their exciting journey as they form themselves as a consortium co-operative and reap the benefits of their £10k prize.  Do view the short videos of our winners – it’s great to hear it from the horse’s mouth as they say. Hopefully it will give you the incentive to consider how collaboration can help your business.

Screen Facilities Scotland brings together the best that Scotland has to offer in screen facilities.  Over 12 companies, with more to come on board, are now collaborating to secure contracts that may otherwise have been awarded to those south of the border or further afield.  I just love that one of the members created the Fatboy Slim Octopus of the London 2012 Olympics, and another filmed the James Bond and the Queen footage!

Screen Facilities Scotland video

Three farmers from the south west of Scotland (Castle Loch Foods Ltd) have come together to produce a range of luxury charcuterie products, using their individual high quality meats. This will see them access new markets, and hopefully export overseas in due course.

DG Farmers Cooperative video

Music Co-operative Scotland now gives us all an easy way to hire professional musicians for any occasion, offering any style of music you desire. All made possible through the formation of a consortium co-operative.

Musicians Cooperative Scotland video

This year we have increased our prize fund to £40,000 – up to four winners will each receive £5,000 consultancy support, and £5,000 cash to help implement their idea.  Even those that don’t win a prize can still access a comprehensive package of free support.

We are delighted to be working with our partners from Creative Scotland, Scotland Food and Drink and Scottish Tourism Alliance, and aim to attract really good entries from creative, food & drink and tourism businesses. In other words sectors that really lend themselves to collaboration.

However – our competition is of course open to all Scottish based companies regardless of sector.

So what are you waiting for?  The deadline for applications is 3rd August.  I personally can’t wait to see what comes our way this year…

Good luck.

Gillian

One prize – One giant boost for collaboration

 Screen Facilities Scotland 08

After the success of the inaugural awards in 2012, Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS) has today launched this year’s Collaboration Prize.

Screen Facilities Scotland was one of the three winners from last summer and Joanna Dewar Gibb, business manager at ARTEM LTD explains how the initiative has had an amazing effect on the consortium’s activities.

 

In the first instance, quite simply, being one of the winners gave us a boost of confidence to the Screen Facilities Scotland (SFS) working group that professional peers also deemed what we were doing as worthy of support.  The double layers of the CDS Collaboration Prize – the practical professional support and the hard cash – gave the working group a solid underpinning for the next steps in the evolution of SFS. 

SFS is now a fully established representative trade body with members and is, in itself, a full member of UK Screen Association.  This forged link between the two entities is a valuable membership benefit of SFS and our thanks go to Creative Scotland for their support with this.

As a recognisable and formal entity, SFS has been able to work effectively with Creative Scotland in a number of other areas as well.  Working as partners, SFS and Creative Scotland set up an eye-catching “Film in Scotland” space at the London Trade Show, BVE 2013. The stand was staffed by Creative Scotland and different SFS members and affiliates.  Each of us on the stand had different knowledge and expertise to share with visitors and the result was a collaborative Scottish presence at this media expo. 

Mini FilmBang directory

Mini FilmBang directory

Alongside this, each of the SFS members, Creative Scotland and other stakeholders took the opportunity to organise a networking event in Central London whilst we were all there.  With combined guest lists and again, many of us on hand to mingle with our guests, this was a valuable opportunity to connect with key clients in London, the media production hub of the UK. 

Copies of a revised Mini FilmBang directory were handed out at BVE 2013 and subsequently at the Cannes Film Festival.  This reference book lists the facilities companies in Scotland all in one place in a handy format. 

Circulating information and contact details of all the facilities and service companies in Scotland is a key focus of SFS as part of our combined collaborative marketing efforts. 

We have produced our logo (that graces the front of Mini FilmBang) and the development of both our website and Members’ Agreement are on-going, thanks again to combined efforts both of SFS members and the business consultancy element of CDS’s Collaboration Prize. 

Across our membership, we have companies that are direct competitors but even so, we find we are able to put those aspects aside to work together in areas of mutual support and benefit to everyone’s advantage. SFS members have been sharing even administrative tasks, like chasing potential member to make sure anyone who wants to be part of SFS is a part of it.

The publicity from winning the Collaboration Prize gave SFS a further boost with articles on SFS appearing in Screen International and Broadcast magazine, two key trade journals in our business.  The £10,000 prize win was the “hook” for the bigger story of the aims of SFS. 

The £5,000 cash prize is being allocated in part to our launch networking event that will include members, clients and key industry figures.  Alongside this, SFS is also planning to have a presence at this year’s Edinburgh Festival and Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival. 

Business consultancy from Co-operative Development Scotland worth £5,000 was also given as part of the prize and has been incredibly worthwhile.  The different experts made available to SFS have each helped focus the working group to achieve key milestones in establishing SFS in a more straight-forward and professional streamlined way. 

SFS photo

On a strategic level, there is an industry-wide period of examination and evolution going on in our core business of film and television production. SFS is now established as a point of reference for those consultants and others charged with reviewing the health of the production sector in Scotland, including the current considerations about building a Scottish Studio facility. 

This is exactly where we wanted to get to. 

It means hard-pressed business managers/owners do not have to be approached separately on every matter but rather, with one point of contact under the banner of SFS, views of busy people can be amalgamated and submitted collaboratively.

In due course SFS plans to have a part-time administrator to manage its business. In the meantime, what is clear on a daily basis is that within SFS there really is strength in numbers and tasks – when tackled co-operatively – become so much more efficient and effective as a result. 

Being one of the CDS Collaboration Prize-winners gave SFS a most incredible boost at the outset of its evolution and we moved forward so much more quickly and efficiently than would have been possible without it. 

This article also appears in the latest edition of 3RDi magazine. Click here to view.

You can follow Screen Facilities Scotland on Twitter @ScotFacilities

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.

A co-operative consortium that’s bringing home the bacon…

D&G Farmers Cooperative 02Farmers Nigel and Angela Taylor look after 180 Highland cattle at Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway. The company, Barlochan Highlanders, was one of three similar outfits to win the CDS Collaboration Prize. Here, Nigel reports on why forming a co-operative consortium with Annanwater Organics and Clash Saddlebacks will bring home the bacon.  

 

 

I once read that forming a co-operative could best be described as a leap into the unknown. Until now I never fully appreciated the scale of the challenge involved, but more importantly I’d never really considered the huge benefits that taking a collective approach to a business can bring.

All that changed a few months back when myself and two other farming outfits from Dumfries and Galloway found ourselves clinking champagne glasses together having just won £10,000 worth of funding as part of Co-operative Development Scotland’s (CDS) inaugural Collaboration Prize

My partners are Steve and Sarah Burchell from Annanwater Organics, based near Moffat, who sell organic blackface and blackface-cross lamb and Robert and Caron Stewart, based at Port Logan, whose firm Clash Saddlebacks sells rare breed traditional pork and bacon.D&G Farmers Cooperative 07

The first strength of our enterprise is the fact that we have known each other for years and our triumvirate of existing businesses all share an obsession with delivering produce of the highest quality. Here in Dumfries and Galloway we all have the same approach to high animal-welfare, outdoor reared, slow grown, ethically and locally sourced and artisan produced meat.

We would all tick the same boxes and this has proved a positive foundation to forming our co-operative.

So what’s the big deal? Well, I guess it’s all to do with working together…the very definition of a co-operative, you might say.

Of course agriculture is known for its solitary lifestyle. After all my outdoor office in the beautiful Scottish countryside, and comprises just me and 180 Highlanders (cattle that is!) and we spend most of our days together. It’s only when a rep turns up, or I have to go and get something fixed, that I meet anyone else.Highlander Barlochan 2 for blog

Farmers’ markets each weekend throughout the season can be a real test of my dormant social skills.  We are simply not used to working with other people, especially when we only have a share of the decision making process. But then again, that’s the whole point.

Setting up a consortium has been a big step forward for each of us. We have immediately been thrown into a season of re-adjustment that we could never have envisaged. Geographically separated by almost 100 miles of open space, we have had to plan ahead and consciously think about how to communicate. Whoever invented the conference call deserves a pat on the back.

We have had to adjust to each other’s timescales in terms of lifestyle and when we are each available. Steve & Sarah (Burchell) from Annanwater Organics, out at Moffat, are just about to embark on what is their most demanding time of the year … lambing! Sheep Annanwater 2 for blogWhilst Robert and Caron (Stewart) in the fantastic area of Port Logan with Clash Saddlebacks are always busy.

Saddleback Clash 1 for blogGood communication will be key to our success and is all part of our exciting new venture.

I think each of us are quite creative in their own way and that again is important for this enterprise. We each have strengths and specific areas of experience that we each bring to the kitchen table (or conference call).

Okay, we each have our weaknesses and areas we would rather avoid, but somehow the co-operative knits together six individuals, all from different backgrounds, knocks out all the rough edges off, sticks us all back together, and then gives us something exciting and rewarding to fight for.

The future looks bright. We are just about to sign the lease for premises that will enable us to develop an exciting range of pork, beef and lamb added value charcuterie products, as well as providing a distribution and admin location.

Our new branding (including new co-operative name … watch this space) is in development with one of the top marketing companies in Scotland, and we just can’t wait for the summer when we are planning our official launch.

So, to answer the initial question: Yes, we are taking a huge step, but so far we are all finding it a hugely exciting one to be making.

Highlander Barlochan 4 for blog

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.