Tag: Creative Industries

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.

 

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