|Sector||Cooperativism, local economic development|
|Year of beginning||2012|
|Object||Glasgow had experience working in a cooperative way, so rather than simply delivering services it worked with enterprises and communities to co-create services designed around citizens’ needs. In 2012, the city made a commitment to become a ‘cooperative city’.
The projects is run by the Cooperative Development Unit (CDU) from the Glasgow City Council, set up to deliver the project’s action plan, identified two primary objectives: develop a new culture of partnership within the council, and help the city’s cooperative sector thrive and grow through easier access to funding and networking. The proposal led to the council establishing a £500,000 annual budget, and the expansion of the CDU. It also established a cross-functional group of ‘cooperative champions’, who identify cooperative opportunities and develop links within and beyond the council.
The council’s investment also enabled the Cooperative Glasgow Business Development Fund to be set up. This gives transformational business development grants to cooperatives, mutuals, social enterprises, and council departments. Since 2013, grants totalling £696,881 have been awarded to 34 existing cooperatives and 11 startups.
As with any project of this scale, Cooperative Glasgow has had its challenges. Establishing new kinds of partnerships with external organisations tested existing legal procedures and financially the public sector is naturally risk averse, which can inhibit the implementation of new ideas. It also recognised traditional business support didn’t include promotion of the cooperative business model: this was addressed by running workshops. The council intends to give Cooperative Glasgow the time it needs – and to future proof the project against elections and funding issues.
|Source||Institutional website of the City Council of Glasgow and online articles|