The rapid growth in the number of community-owned businesses was underlined today (31 October) when The Co-operative revealed it had supported 1,000 grassroots mutual organisations since it launched its Enterprise Hub three years ago.
Since 2009 The Co-operative Enterprise Hub service has delivered almost 3,500 days of free specialist support, providing the tools, skills, knowledge and confidence to drive community-led regeneration UK-wide.
From pubs to post offices and retail to renewables the country is witnessing a resurgence in enterprises set up, run and controlled for the benefit of the community, with latest figures showing a near ten per cent year-on-year rise in enterprises using the co-operative model of business ownership.
In a move to maintain the momentum of community-led solutions to the running of businesses and services, The Co-operative has pledged a further £5m over the next three years (2013-15) to developing the service.
Michael Fairclough, The Co-operative’s Head of Community and Co-operative Investment, said: “Communities across the country, driven by needs other than to maximise profit, are turning to co-operatively-owned solutions for the provision of businesses and services.
“These enterprises are operated by a general public increasingly concerned for accountability, transparency and sustainability and, collectively they are making a significant contribution to the rebalancing of the UK economy.”
In addition to its core service of specialist advice and training to support the creation and growth of member-owned enterprises, The Co-operative Enterprise Hub has extended its offer to include dedicated support for community-owned renewables and, a unique scheme to underwrite community share issues.