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Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS) promotes company growth through collaborative and employee-owned business models. During 2015-16, it supported 29 new ventures and buy-outs and continued to nurture co-operative working and succession planning in Scotland.

Kettle of Fish team

Collaboration Prize winners, Kettle of Fish

Scotland can significantly benefit from more businesses adopting collaborative ways of working – it is a natural strategy for a country with a higher-than average proportion of small, ambitious and capable businesses.

In its 2015-16 annual report, CDS shows how it's helping Scottish firms to grow and prosper through collaborative working and employee ownership.

The business models it promotes contribute directly to the core objectives of the Government’s recently launched economic strategy, which aims to make the Scottish economy fairer and more internationally competitive.

Working together

Consortium co-operatives are established when businesses collaborate for a shared purpose – for example, to access new markets, jointly bid for contracts and increase levels of innovation. 

Last year, CDS supported the creation of 20 new consortia in key sectors, including food and drink, tourism, renewables and the creative industries. These strategic alliances will enable 76 businesses to reduce costs, share risks and create new platforms for growth.

CDS infographic

Worthy winners

Every year we offer businesses a unique opportunity through our Collaboration Prize to receive £10,000 each towards a new venture. This year’s competition focused on the creative industries sector and attracted many high quality entries.

And the winners were...

  • Heritage technical experts ArchBlue Ltd
  • Aerial archivists Ecosse from Above
  • Literary destination Edinburgh’s Netherbow
  • Craft producers Orkney Tweed
  • Kettle of Fish

Kettle of Fish aims to create inspiring interactive storytelling apps for children, starting with its first idea – ‘Crocodile on the Roof’. Together its members will pool skills and resources to take each new story idea from start to finish. It will also create a platform for collaboration with other writers and artists as it develops new stories.

Succession planning

Succession planning continues to grow in importance. Selling an ownership stake to an employee trust is an increasingly popular way for owners to manage their exit and achieve a competitive price while safeguarding the long-term future of the company.

With CDS currently advising 131 companies, an increasing number of businesses are considering this model.

We aspire to achieve a tenfold increase in employee ownership over 10 years.

Edinburgh based lighting and AV specialist company, Black Light started their employee ownership journey in 2016, giving owner Gavin Stewart an exit strategy that allowed the firm
to continue to grow and flourish. A sale to the employees also recognised the contribution and commitment the staff had made to the company’s success.

Community ownership

Community co-operatives enable communities to deliver local projects, such as renewable energy and broadband. We are currently working with 13 community co-operatives in partnership with Community Shares Scotland and Local Energy Scotland.

Community owned Cultybraggan Camp is the last remaining WWII high security POW camp in the U.K (Camp 21). A community share offer provided the final piece of the funding package to refurbish a key group of vacant listed buildings within the camp. This project will give new life to these buildings as bunkhouse and self-catering accommodation. The development of accommodation at Cultybraggan is a key part of the visitor activity plan for the site, which is anticipated to attract 15,000 visitors each year.

Take the next step for your business

Get in touch if you want to:

  • Collaborate with other businesses or share ownership of a community service?
  • Sell your business to your employees?
  • Meet our employee ownership ambassadors?

Make an enquiry

Download the full annual report (PDF, 269KB)