16 October 2015
A £1 million partnership supporting the development and growth of the UK’s dynamic co-operative and social enterprise sector has been launched by The Co-operative Bank and Co-operatives UK. The initiative is part of our work to develop ethical products and services, actively supporting businesses and organisations that are in tune with the values and ethics of our customers.
Starting in early 2016, the three year £1million programme will support the development of the existing co-operative businesses and social enterprises across the UK as well as helping new co-operatives and community businesses starting up. The dynamic co-operative and social enterprises sector is already worth £37 billion to the UK economy, growing by 15% in the last five years.1
The innovative programme will offer comprehensive online business advice and guidance, alongside one-to-one support, peer mentoring and group training sessions. The aim is to build an online co-operative community, bringing together member-owned businesses across the country to create networking and business development opportunities.
Ed Mayo, general secretary at Co-operatives UK, said: "With everything from football clubs to farmer controlled businesses, the co-operative sector is diverse and thriving. This partnership promises to give it a further boost. Whether it’s supporting communities to take control of vital local assets like pubs or historic buildings, or helping existing co-operatives to create more jobs, the new programme will provide welcome support for businesses up and down the country that are giving people control over things that matter to them.
"With a new Co-operatives Act last year, the rise of 'community shares' crowdfunding and now this support programme backed by The Co-operative Bank, there has never been a better time to start or grow a co-operative."
For more information on how we are bringing our Ethical Policy to life, visit our Ethical Policy in Action page.
1. Co-operatives UK report: 'The UK co-operative economy 2015', http://www.uk.coop/economy2015/uk-co-operative-economy-2015-report.