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A consortium co-operative can help your company grow with shared resources, reduced risk, and access to new markets.

What is a consortium co-operative?

It’s an organisation run in a shared and equal way by, and for the benefit of its members. Members are businesses and the co-operative can be for any purpose which supports them – such as marketing, tendering, innovating or exporting.

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Heart of Argyll Tourism Alliance: a consortium co-operative model has grown trade to its member businesses

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The benefits: reduce risk, increase reach

The consortium model can work for businesses of all sizes and in any sector. Being part of a consortium co-operative can help your business grow, and reduce the costs and risks of tackling new markets or investing in new processes. It also allows member businesses to retain their own brands, independence and control.

A consortium allows a group of companies to boost their growth – by entering new markets, tendering for bigger contracts, developing new products, or increasing their efficiency. The biggest benefit is is often the clout that comes from working together: companies can achieve much more than they would on their own.

How are they used?

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Consortium co-operatives are created for various reasons. Many are formed for buying, selling or marketing purposes on behalf of members to deliver greater economies of scale. Increasingly they are being used to bid for contracts that individual members could not win alone. Running costs are often met by retaining a small percentage of the value of members’ trade, so members contribute in proportion with usage.

The model is common in situations where members wish to share resources such as back office services or premises. It can also be used as the basis for membership organisations where a sound democratic structure is needed to promote ownership, to apply for funds or to undertake strategic sector development.

Going global

If your company has ambition to grow and would like to consider overseas markets then the consortium model could help you make the most of international opportunities. By working together smaller companies can achieve scale and attract customers that individually would be out of reach. Some of our current clients have already had success in international markets. Examples of the activities they have worked together on are:

  • Creation of a shared international marketing strategy
  • Sharing transportation costs
  • Innovating new processes and techniques
  • Offering a portfolio brand for export with consolidated shipping
  • Shared e-commerce strategy and fulfilment

How can Co-operative Development Scotland help?

Co-operative Development Scotland can help you to explore the options, structure the consortium, and get more members involved.  

For more information on setting up a consortium co-operative, contact Co-operative Development Scotland. 

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Watch our video to find out more about how the consortium model works