Scottish businesses that form a co-operative consortium have a chance to win a share of £40,000 in development funds.
Co-operative Development Scotland’s Collaboration Prize, which was first launched last year by First Minister Alex Salmond for the International Year of Co-operatives, will provide £5,000 of funds and £5,000 business support for four groups of businesses wanting to work collaboratively.
This year’s prizes are open to organisations working in food and drink, tourism and the creative industries and the winners will be announced in October. The awards are supported by the Scottish Tourism Alliance, Creative Scotland and Scotland Food and Drink.
The consortium concept encourages businesses to pool resources, market more effectively, share facilities and buy or sell in scale.
One of last year’s winners was Music Co-OPERAtive Scotland, which brought together the members of the Orchestra of Scottish Opera into a co-operative to secure more work at home and overseas.
Katie Hull, from the co-operative, said: “Forming a consortium co-operative gives people a one stop shop for our musical services. We have been able to market ourselves as a full orchestra for hire and cater for a range of different events. It’s been an amazing year for us since we won the prize and we’re aiming for bigger and better things.”
Sarah Deas, Chief Executive of CDS — a part of Scottish Enterprise — said: “In an ever more global economy, collaboration offers our many SMEs the opportunity to increase their capacity and in turn help deliver sustainable growth to Scotland.
"This year we want to boost collaboration in key sectors of the Scottish economy namely food and drink, tourism and the creative industries. The consortium business model makes companies more productive, innovative and ultimately successful.”
Fergus Ewing, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, who helped to launch this year's prize fund, said: “The 250-year-old roots of the co-operative movement can be traced here to Scotland. Its principles of economic vitality and social responsibility resonate with the ambitions of this government and are perhaps more relevant today than ever before.
“The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that all of Scotland’s people are able to benefit from the gifts that come from sustainable economic growth. As such I am delighted to support CDS in its Collaboration Prize this year – an exercise that will encourage our home grown talent to think about working together to succeed on the world stage.”
• For more information about the Collaboration Prize, and previous winners, visit: www.scottish-enterprise.com/cds-collaboration-prize