Need support to boost your business? Collaboration may be the answer.

October 23, 2015

Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS) is a Scottish Enterprise subsidiary, established to help companies grow by setting up consortium, employee-owned and community businesses. Here, Jaye Martin, Specialist Advisor looks at how their services can benefit your business and how they’ve helped Glasgow-founded consortium Screen Facilities Scotland


We support company growth in Scotland through collaborative and employee ownership business models. We offer advice to help you choose the best co-operative business model for your organisation, while also guiding you through the process, including access to funding and legal models.

Consortiums offer an ideal solution for businesses looking to collaborate while retaining their own independence. Members can be limited companies, partnerships or individuals, with membership being any size from two upwards.

The benefits are numerous. You can reduce the costs of doing business, jointly tender for contracts, attract funding and share facilities, to name a few. It’s also a great opportunity for networking and sharing expertise within your industry.

So how can we help you? If you’re looking to collaborate, we can offer Consortium expert support.  This amounts to up to 2.5 days of a specialist adviser’s time and includes support with legal documentation such as constitution and members’ agreements as well as helping groups develop their collaborative ideas.

One of the first businesses to benefit from our Collaboration Prize in 2012 was Screen Facilities Scotland. SFS is a membership collaboration representing facility and service companies in the screen and media production industry. The businesses formalised as a consortium to promote Scotland’s filming facilities, industry services and infrastructure, both at home and abroad. SFS has a core of 22 members from which a working group meets regularly to discuss issues and potential opportunities, including Glasgow based companies ArtemFilm City GlasgowVisual Impact and Rage Music.

Before joining forces, SFS members felt that many lucrative contracts were being won by businesses based outside Scotland – particularly in the south-east of the UK. By forming a consortium co-operative, they would be able to pitch for work in a more efficient and cohesive way. In the process, they could increase core business and help to grow the Scottish film, TV and commercials production sector.

SFS began its transition to a formal consortium after winning the CDS Collaboration Prize in 2012. With £5,000 prize money and £5,000 worth of professional support, it was able to put its collaborative plan into action. The prize money covered costs associated with set-up, including a launch networking event with key clients, both new and existing. With the support of CDS, SFS received vital advice on strategy, marketing and IT and the consortium structure quickly took shape.

Jaye Martin is a Specialist Advisor at Co-operative Development Scotland, advising clients and leading some of CDS’s key projects. She helps potential or growing co-operatives explore how co-operation can work for them. Follow them on Twitter @cdscotland or LinkedIn Co-operative Development Scotland to find out more about the Collaboration Prize 2015. Find out how they can help you collaborate by calling 0141 951 3055 or check out the CDS website.