Business support for community-led groups

Communities in Stornoway can benefit from the arrival of The Co-operative Enterprise Hub, a business support service dedicated to the creation and growth of member-owned enterprises in Scotland.

The Co-operative Enterprise Hub is a £7.5 million investment in the sector by The Co-operative Group - the world’s largest consumer co-operative with 6 million members – offering advice, training and consultancy to Scottish communities re-discovering the benefits of self-help and mutual ownership.

From pubs to grocers, cafes to childcare, it is seen as an attractive business model for today’s ethically motivated entrepreneur. And, the ‘Hub’ – which launched this month (March) in Scotland - aims to create ‘a co-operative a day’ throughout 2011 as this alternative approach to business enjoys a renaissance from a public increasingly concerned for community, environment, ethical trading and sustainability.

Peter Marks, Group Chief Executive of The Co-operative, said: “We are seeing more and more people setting-up, running and growing member-owned enterprises as consumers take ownership into their own hands and, have a say in the running of businesses and services that meet the demands of local communities.

“Contributing to a more balanced and sustainable economy, the co-operative business model is again seen as a modern, effective and relevant approach to business and has, without doubt, an exciting part to play in fostering future enterprise.”

Edinburgh based Martin Meteyard, from Co-operative Business Consultants (CBC) - lead delivery partner for The Co-operative Enterprise Hub in Scotland, continued: “Society is increasingly looking for an alternative approach to business, one that can inspire change to the way organisations and services are run.

“The ‘Hub’ is an exciting development and will provide the specific advice needed to support the development of sustainable co-operative enterprises - reinforcing the fabric of our communities and contributing to a more balanced economy.”

The Co-operative Enterprise Hub operates through a central website with a network of local co-operative development experts providing dedicated advice, training and guidance - including up to four days free business consultancy - on how to set up, run and grow sustainable co-operative enterprises.  

For more information about The Co-operative Enterprise Hub, how to set up a co-operative enterprise and the support, advice and finance available to new and existing co-operative businesses, visit www.co-operative.coop/enterprisehub or email enterprise@co-operative.coop