CDS in demand as Scots explore co-op options

Surging interest in co-op business models, such as consortium co-ops and employee-owned businesses, is fuelling record levels of inquiries for specialist advice from Co-operative Development Scotland. 

The Scottish Enterprise subsidiary has seen a 350 per cent jump in inquiries during the last two years and is set to advise 250 potential new co-operative or employee-owned businesses in the current year. 

During the last six months alone, CDS has helped establish 15 co-operative businesses — a record since the body was set up in 2006 — to increase the contribution of co-operative and employee owned businesses to Scotland’s economy. 

Newly formed co-operative businesses include Scottish Bee Services, a Perthshire-based consortium of beekeepers; Skiach Hydro, an energy co-operative based in the Highlands; and Such and Such, an Edinburgh-based consortium of designers and artists. 

Recently-formed employee-owned businesses advised by CDS include Clansman Dynamics, the East Kilbride based robotic handling specialist, and West Highland Free Press, the campaigning Isle of Skye newspaper.  

CDS said it is also advising a healthy pipeline of prospective employee buy-outs as a growing number of business owners elect to safeguard the independence and future of their business by selling to their employees. 

CDS Chief Executive Sarah Deas commented: “There is growing awareness of the benefits of 

co-operative business models, in particular their reputation for being more productive, profitable and sustainable. Scotland’s economy has much to gain by increasing the numbers of these types of businesses. We are delighted that there is so much interest.” 

CDS has advised over 500 existing and potential co-operative or employee-owned businesses to date. 

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