Fergus Ewing, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, is helping to launch a £40,000 prize this week designed to encourage businesses to work collaboratively.
Last year First Minister Alex Salmond launched Co-operative Development Scotland’s (CDS) inaugural Collaboration Prize at Edinburgh Castle. CDS is a subsidiary of Scottish Enterprise.
This year the pool of funding has been boosted by £10,000 to £40,000. The four winning concepts will be announced in October and will each receive a cash prize of £5,000 and £5,000 of support.
Scotland’s 578 co-operative businesses already play a major role in driving economic growth. They have a combined turnover of £4bn and employ 28,600 people.
The aim is to encourage businesses to consider collaboration and pitch their idea for a new consortium co-operative. This year the focus is on three key sectors of the Scottish economy namely: food and drink, tourism and the creative industries.
Evidence from across Europe shows collaboration increases productivity, innovation and growth. It also delivers intangible benefits to firms such as increasing their influence and confidence.
Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Fergus Ewing, said: “The 250-year-old roots of the co-operative movement can be traced here to Scotland. Its principles of economic vitality and social responsibility resonate with the ambitions of this government and are perhaps more relevant today than ever before.
“The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that all of Scotland’s people are able to benefit from the gifts that come from sustainable economic growth. As such I am delighted to support CDS in its Collaboration Prize this year – an exercise that will encourage our home grown talent to think about working together to succeed on the world stage.”
Sarah Deas, chief executive of Co-operative Development Scotland, said: “After the success of the 2012 Collaboration Prize we have increased the level of support to £40,000. In an ever more global economy, collaboration offers our many SMEs the opportunity to increase their capacity and in turn help deliver sustainable growth to Scotland.
“This year we want to boost collaboration in key sectors of the Scottish economy namely food and drink, tourism and the creative industries. So we welcome on-board our partners Scotland Food and Drink, Scottish Tourism Alliance and Creative Scotland. The consortium business model makes companies more productive, innovative and ultimately successful.”
Last year’s three winners were Music Co-OPERAtive Scotland, Screen Facilities Scotland and Castle Loch Foods Ltd.
Music Co-OPERAtive Scotland brings together the members of the Orchestra of Scottish Opera in an artistic collaboration to explore new markets for classical music at home and overseas.
Katie Hull, from Music Co-OPERAtive Scotland, said: “In 2011 members with the Orchestra of Scottish Opera moved from working on a full-time to a part-time basis. Forming a consortium co-operative gives people a one stop shop for our musical services.
"We have been able to market ourselves as a full orchestra for hire and cater for a range of different events. It’s been an amazing year for us since we won the prize and we’re aiming for bigger and better things. We would encourage companies to consider the collaborative approach.”