The Consortium Co-operative Model
Grow your business through collaboration
WHAT IS A CONSORTIUM CO-OPERATIVE?
It is an organisation run in a shared and equal way by, and for the beneﬁt of
its members. Members are businesses and the co-operative may be for any
purpose which supports the members – for example, marketing, tendering,
innovating or exporting.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
The model beneﬁts businesses of all sizes and works well in any sector.
Being part of a consortium co-operative can boost economic growth while reducing
the costs and risks of tackling new markets or investing in new processes. It also
allows member businesses to retain their own brands, independence and control.
HOW ARE THEY USED?
Consortium co-operatives are formed for various reasons. Many are formed for
buying, selling or marketing purposes on behalf of members to deliver greater
economies of scale. Increasingly they are being used to bid for contracts individual
members could not win alone. Running costs are often met by retaining a small
percentage of the value of members’ trade, meaning members contribute in
proportion with usage.
The model is common in situations where members wish to share resources such
as back ofﬁce services or premises. It can also be used as the basis for membership
organisations where a sound democratic structure is needed to promote ownership,
to apply for funds or to undertake strategic sector development.
• Raising proﬁle
• Pooling resources
• Combining expertise
• Increasing buying power
A CONSORTIUM CAN:
• Reach new customers and markets
• Access bigger and more valuable contracts
• Innovate products and services
• Increase efﬁciency via economies of scale
AND ACHIEVE FOR MEMBERS:
• Increased revenues and proﬁts
• Reduced costs
• Increased productivity
Members have proﬁted in
a variety of ways, but all have
beneﬁted from the resources
sourced by the group.
Argyll Food Producers
Breadalbane Tourism Co-operative
CASE STUDIES: ARGYLL FOOD PRODUCERS
Argyll Food Producers has grown to become a recognised brand across
Scotland, with 20 members working together to promote and sell fare
from the rural west coast region. Providing catering under the ‘Food from
Argyll’ banner, the consortium has achieved signiﬁcant success through
joint tendering. It was the only regional food group represented at two
public sites during the 2014 Commonwealth Games. CDS supported a
feasibility study for the group.
CASE STUDIES: SCOTTISH MOUNTAIN BIKE CONSORTIUM
Winner of the 2013 CDS Collaboration Prize, SMBC is made up of several
SMEs with an interest in mountain biking and tourism. By pooling
resources and contacts, they have been able to organise events with
greater ease. Collaborating has allowed them to win signiﬁcant tenders,
such as the contract to organise and host the Angus Mountain Biking
Festival. Individual member businesses have also seen growth as a
result of working together.
CASE STUDIES: BREADALBANE TOURISM CO-OPERATIVE
Formed with the help of CDS, 16 tourism businesses in the Breadalbane
area are working together to deliver beneﬁts to both members and
visitors. By establishing a standalone brand and launching Breadalbane-
themed products, they have been able to raise awareness of the area.
Successful initiatives include the Rings of Breadalbane outdoor activity
project and the Explorer mini bus service, both of which have helped to
open up the area to tourists and residents.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
CDS has a proven track record in helping businesses form consortium
co-operatives and successfully raise their proﬁle, access bigger
contracts and innovate in new and existing markets.
CDS support includes:
• Exploring the options
• Structuring the consortium
• Developing member participation
Co-operative Development Scotland is the arm of Scottish Enterprise working in
partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise that supports company growth
through collaborative and employee ownership business models.
For more information or advice email email@example.com or call us on
0141 951 3055. Follow us on Twitter @cdscotland