Co-operative Development Scotland had a stellar 2013/14, working with co-operatives and employee-owned businesses throughout the country.
Reviewing progress, chief executive Sarah Deas outlines how the results demonstrate the potential for growth in the coming years.
During 2013/14, Co-operative Development Scotland supported 36 new ventures and buyouts across the country, nurturing successful business collaboration and succession.
We helped establish 19 new consortia covering key sectors, including tourism, creative industries, forestry and renewables. This will directly benefit more than 150 businesses in the first year – with that figure expected to increase to more than 350 over the next three years as the influence of the consortia grow.
We also helped eight new community ventures to get off the ground and are currently advising 91 Scottish companies that are interested in the employee ownership model as a succession option.
The figures, published in our 2013/14 annual review, demonstrate clearly that co-operative and employee ownership models are proving attractive options for businesses as the benefits become more widely known.
It is for that reason we are confident we will meet our target of a 10-fold increase in employee ownership over the coming decade, as well as helping to establish a further 350 new co-operatives in the same period.
Others are keen to learn from our approach; last year we advised the Malawi Trade and Investment Centre on Scotland’s approach to co-operative development. We also participated in a project led by the Flemish Government to promote co-operative entrepreneurship across European member states.
Looking forward, we will continue to work closely with Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, as well as key partners including Business Gateway, industry bodies, membership organisations and professional practices, to raise awareness, provide advice and influence policy.
We are determined to build on the successes we have had over the past year – and the enthusiasm the model has been shown so far only whets our appetite to spread the message even further.