Sarah Deas resizedThis week sees representatives of employee-owned businesses and other parties gather at Tullis Russell for the first-ever Employee Ownership Association Network Scotland, part of a national rollout by the EOA.

Here, Co-operative Development Scotland chief executive Sarah Deas discusses the potential benefits of the Network.

Scotland’s first-ever EOA Network Scotland is an exciting prospect which will allow businesses operating with a similar ethos to gather, share common problems and work towards common goals – regardless of the industry each individual business represents.

This first gathering of the Network, held tomorrow morning at Tullis Russell’s paper mill, is an important step. Deb Oxley, director of membership at the EOA, will chair the event and lead discussions on the day, with the overall goal being to agree the purpose of the Network and decide how it will develop in years to come.

Staff at Tullis Russell

Staff at Tullis Russell

To those attending on Wednesday, remember this is your chance to have your say and influence how the network will work for you.

Just as exciting is the venue. Not only is Tullis Russell an employee-owned company, but the first EOA gathering will be held at the company’s recently opened eco-education building, the Tullis Russell Environmental Education Centre – or TREE, for short.

TREE acts as a terrific education space, designed to motivate the local community to take action to help secure a more sustainable future, as well as provide a first-class conference and meeting space for local businesses. It’s a fitting venue.

Employee Ownership Association

Co-operative Development Scotland will be there – and we are delighted to be. The establishment of the EOA Network Scotland is an important step towards providing a solid foundation for existing employee-owned companies. It will also provide further reassurance to those organisations considering employee ownership as a business model that it works and help is there for them.

Most of all though, it will strengthen the voice of employee-owned businesses and that can only help drive policy and influence decision makers in future years.