Business development and advice

Consortium co-operatives

Consortium co-operatives

Collaborating as a consortium co-operative can be a great way to grow your business. Explore how this democratic and values led business model can help your company pool resources, reduce costs and share risk to enable faster, more sustainable growth.

Made in Scotland - a consortium co-operative

What is a consortium co-operative?

A consortium is a group of businesses who have pooled resources to achieve a common goal. Members may work together on any number of business activities, such as exporting, marketing, sharing facilities or jointly bidding for contracts.  

A consortium is run on a shared and equal basis by its members to benefit all their interests, with each business having an equal say.

Benefits of collaboration for businesses

Working as part of a consortium co-operative could benefit companies of any size, in any industry. For smaller businesses in particular, it lets them benefit from economies of scale. 

Forming a consortium co-operative allows companies to share both the costs and risks of growth and innovation, while also combining their knowledge and resources.  

By working together, businesses can: 

  • Raise their profile and improve market presence 
  • Increase efficiency 
  • Share expertise and experience 
  • Bid for bigger contracts 
  • Expand to new and existing markets, in the UK and internationally 
  • Reduce the risk associated with growth 
  • Combine their different strengths to form a strong collective unit 

A collaborative business model doesn’t mean that companies must give up their autonomy, however. Individual companies within a consortium are still free to focus on their core business or brand. Members can also choose to join or leave the consortium at any time.

How Co-operative Development Scotland can help 

Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS) is the arm of Scotland’s enterprise agencies that supports business growth through employee ownership and co-operative business models. Our services are available to all businesses in Scotland who are thinking about collaboration and enquiries are welcome from organisations of any size, from any sector. 

What kind of support is available?

We provide a free advisory service to help you set up a consortium co-operative. 

We can talk you through the basics of collaborative business models, help you assess your options and advise you on the structure. We'll also provide the required legal documentation. 

We'd be happy to discuss your business collaboration and work with you to find a way forward. 

Kettle of Fish - a consortium co-operative
Co-operative Development Scotland logo

Learn more with our video guide to business collaboration

Find out more about consortium co-operatives and the support available to help you get started with our video series.

Find out more

Discover how we can help your company pool resources, reduce costs and share risk to allow it to flourish.

Co-operative business case studies

The founders of the Start-Up Drinks Lab, a collaborative business

The Start-Up Drinks Lab's innovative solution for small-batch production

"We’re committed to supporting Scotland and Scottish produce by giving producers an accessible, affordable platform"
Read full success story
Argyll and the Isles Tourism Co-operative - a collaborative business

How the Argyll and Isles Tourism Co-operative is attracting new visitors

"This setup is... an excellent means for engaging remote rural businesses in training and development, as well as campaign activity"
Read full success story