Better business performance through employee ownership

A photograph of people meeting in a board room

Key points:

  • Continued support for Co-operative Development Scotland, the arm of Scotland’s enterprise agencies that supports company growth through collaborative and employee ownership business models.
  • The establishment of Scotland for EO, the industry leadership group for employee ownership

The health of the Scottish economy depends on having a diverse range of business-types. Employee ownership has an important role to play in the economy as it gives employees a meaningful stake in their organisation together with a genuine say in how it is run. It roots business in Scotland, drives performance and delivers economic wellbeing.

Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS)

CDS is the arm of Scotland’s enterprise agencies which supports economic development by promoting collaborative and employee ownership models. CDS provides support and advice to businesses considering employee ownership, including outlining potential ownership structures, governance systems, engagement mechanisms and potential funding options for a sale to employees. If clients decide it is the right exit strategy for their business further support includes help to choose appropriate experienced advisers, providing partial grant support for advisory work and also input to projects where necessary.

Scotland for EO (SfEO)

SfEO’s principal role is one of sector leadership, ensuring strong alignment with Scotland’s ambition to build an open, inclusive, diverse, tolerant and progressive democracy. Its ambition is to increase the number of employee-owned and worker-owned businesses to 500 by 2030 by drawing upon a strong partnership between Scotland for EO and Co-operative Development Scotland.

SfEO will drive the creation of the best learning environment in the world for people working in employee-owned businesses. Partnerships with best in class learning centres will be established to deliver an EO curriculum for excellence, creating a rich learning environment.

SfEO will also seek to enhance networking, share learning and celebrate employee ownership, as well as engaging with key influencers to move the model from the fringe to the mainstream.

Scottish Enterprise is running a series of workshops explaining employee ownership to build awareness and demand for this inclusive business model.

Case study: Arjowiggins management buy-out safeguards 450 jobs in Aberdeen

In September 2019, the management team of Arjowiggins Creative Papers announced it had concluded a successful management buy-out. This safeguarded 450 jobs and the future of Aberdeen’s historic Stoneywood paper mill.

The deal marked the culmination of nine months of hard work from a wide group of stakeholders and was supported with £7 million of funding from Scottish Enterprise.

A Common Purpose Group had been established by Business, Fair Work and Skills Minister Jamie Hepburn when it was announced that the company was entering into administration.

This was led by Scottish Enterprise and included representatives of the company’s management, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire councils, Opportunity North East, Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce and Unite. Its focus was on securing a long-term future for the Stoneywood site.

The mill, which dates back to the 1700s, pioneered the production of fine paper in the 1800s. It now manufactures products for designers, printers and clients across the world under well-known brands such as Conqueror, Curious Collection and Keaykolour.

Key resources:

Scottish Enterprise: Employee ownership

SfEO on LinkedIn