Wales Co-operative Centre

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

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Welsh social enterprises losing out on digital boom

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New research from Lloyds Bank shows that many SMEs are missing out on the benefits of being online, and that community groups and social enterprises are lagging behind.  As Director of Strategic Development & Performance at the Wales Co-operative Centre, I’ve looked into what the study means for social businesses here. soc ent comm 2 point 0

The Lloyds Bank research gives a snapshot of how SMEs, including social enterprises, use the internet.  The backdrop is that business is increasingly being done online: this year, UK consumers are forecast to spend £107 billion on the web, an increase of 17% year on year.

And it’s not just buying that’s going online, it’s giving too.  Charities that can accept donations over the internet, saw a 27% increase in the number of contributions they receive. In 2013, £2.5 million was raised online from 3.7 million Tweets through social media service Twitter and Just Giving. This was an increase of 448% on 2011.

And yet the facts in the Lloyds Bank UK survey are stark:

  • Around a third of SMEs and social enterprises don’t have websites
  • Social enterprises are much less likely to be online than for-private-profit businesses
  • Just 28% of community groups and social enterprises have the skills to transact online
  • A quarter of community groups and social enterprises feel that the internet isn’t relevant to them

The Wales Co-operative Centre’s experience of running the Social Enterprise Support and Communities 2.0 projects is that an effective ICT strategy is integral to the success of flourishing social enterprises.  The Welsh Government funded Communities 2.0 project has supported over 800 social enterprises and community groups, conducting ICT reviews and supporting investment in new systems to increase revenue, create jobs and improve business efficiency.  For example, the Wales Co-operative Centre’s support to Canolfan Soar in Merthyr Tydfil has helped the enterprise increase the proportion of their income that comes from trading from 35% to 65%.

Independent analysts Booz and Co. estimate full digital take up, with everyone online, could add £63 billion value to the UK economy.  The danger is that community organisations and social enterprises will continue to lag behind the rest of the economy.  They will lose out.  Our Social Enterprise Support and Communities 2.0 projects have had a huge impact already, and Wales needs specialist ICT support to social enterprises to continue.

Written by Dave Brown

November 24, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Capital Gains Tax? What a Relief!

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Capital Gains Tax? What a Relief!

On April 6th 2014, the UK Government will formally launch a range of tax incentives to help grow the employee ownership sector. There will be an exemption from income tax of £3,600 for certain payments made to employees of qualifying employee-owned companies, and the introduction of a relief from capital gains tax (CGT) for owners selling a controlling interest to a trust which operates for the benefit of all employees. Finally, a tax hook on which to promote employee ownership to those business owners considering their business succession options!!

Although the Centre is disappointed that direct forms of employee ownership, such as the worker co-operative model, have not been recognised, this is still a significant milestone for employee ownership. The tax incentives headline what has been a very busy 18 months of UK policy development in this area, stimulated in the main by the recommendations in the 2012 Nuttall Review of Employee Ownership, ‘Sharing Success ‘

To us at the Wales Co-operative Centre, employee ownership is an economic ‘no brainer’. Giving employees an ownership stake in a business changes their relationship with the business and encourages them to take a positive and proactive role in helping their company grow. Recent research by the Cass Business School supports this by showing that employee owned businesses are more stable and more resilient as a direct result of the employees gaining a real stake in the success of that business.

Here in Wales, we see employee ownership as a crucial succession option which can help keep jobs, business and skills in Wales. Unfortunately it is often the forgotten succession option, not being viewed as a mainstream idea by conventional business advisers. At the Wales Co-operative Centre, we have received support from Welsh Government and European Union Regional Development funding to implement employee ownership in Wales and are actively working with both businesses and advisers to put employee ownership firmly in the mainstream.

To mark the introduction of the new tax regime for employee ownership, the Wales Co-operative Centre is hosting a number of breakfast seminars looking at the benefits of employee ownership and how the new tax incentives can benefit business owners who would like to move on from the business.

The events in Cardiff, Carmarthen and Bodnant in North Wales will also consider the employee trust, how it fits with your business model, and the benefits of the model for the business owner and the employees. The seminars will be of interest to business owners interested in looking at their exit strategies and to business advisors who want to know more about the approach to advise their clients. To find out more click here.

In our view, tax should not be the sole driving factor to considering employee ownership. Many of our clients are driven by legacy, and see employee ownership as an approach that engages employees and puts them in charge of their own futures. It helps retain jobs and provides a platform for continued local business ownership and growth. However, having an additional incentive to help promote the employee ownership exit route is never a bad thing and we’ll be working hard to promote the new relief available to business owners here in Wales.

Let’s just hope those clever tax specialists don’t find some loophole which allows companies to abuse the incentive for purposes other than employee ownership, otherwise we could see it withdrawn from the market as quick as at arrived.

Further information can be found on the Wales Co-operative Centres Website http://www.walescooperative.org

Places can be booked directly by calling the Centre on 0300 111 5050.

Rhian Edwards is manager of the ERDF and Welsh Government Business Succession project at the Wales Co-operative Centre. Her team works with micro-businesses and SME’s across Wales to develop employee ownership approaches and employee ownership based succession planning.

New Capital Gains Tax rules encourage owners to sell to their staff / Rheolau newydd ar gyfer Treth ar Enillion Cyfalaf yn annog perchnogion busnes i werthu i’w staff

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New Capital Gains Tax rules encourage owners to sell to their staff / Rheolau newydd ar gyfer Treth ar Enillion Cyfalaf yn annog perchnogion busnes i werthu i’w staff

Business owners across the UK could be benefiting from selling their businesses to their employees when new Capital Gains Tax Reliefs come into force this April. Business owners who sell a controlling stake in their company to an Employee Share Trust, which is owned and run by all the businesses employees will be able to benefit from drastically reduced tax on the profit from the sale.

In Wales, the Wales Co-operative Centre is hosting a number of breakfast seminars looking at the benefits of employee ownership and how the new tax incentives can benefit business owners who would like to move on from the business.

The events in Cardiff, Carmarthen and Bodnant in North Wales will also consider the employee owned trust model, how employee ownership works and the benefits for the business owner and the employees.

The seminars will be of interest to business owners interested in looking at their exit strategies and to business advisors who want to know more about the approach..

Rhian Edwards is Manager of the Welsh Government and ERDF funded Succession project at the Wales Co-operative Centre. She commented,

“This new tax relief makes it extremely attractive for business owners to consider employee ownership as a planned exit strategy. It offers the best of both worlds, a tax efficient exit strategy and an approach that engages employees and puts them in charge of their own futures”.

Further information can be found on the Wales Co-operative Centres Website http://www.walescooperative.org/capital-gains-tax-events.

Places can be booked directly by calling the Centre on 0300 111 5050

 

Gallai perchnogion busnes ledled y DU elwa ar werthu eu busnesau i’w gweithwyr pan ddaw Ryddhad Treth ar Enillion Cyfalaf newydd i rym fis Ebrill eleni. Bydd perchnogion busnes sy’n gwerthu cyfran reoli yn eu cwmni i Ymddiriedolaeth Perchnogaeth Gweithwyr, sy’n eiddo i holl weithwyr y busnes ac yn cael ei reoli ganddynt, yn gallu elwa ar ostyngiad treth enfawr ar yr elw o’r gwerthiant.

Yng Nghymru, mae Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru’n cynnal nifer o seminarau brecwast i edrych ar fanteision perchnogaeth gweithwyr a sut y gall y cymhelliant treth newydd fod yn fuddiol i berchnogion busnes a hoffai symud ymlaen o’r busnes.

Bydd y digwyddiadau yng Nghaerdydd, Caerfyrddin a Bodnant yng Ngogledd Cymru hefyd yn ystyried yr ymddiriedolaethau newydd, sut y mae perchnogaeth gweithwyr yn gweithio a’r manteision ar gyfer perchennog y busnes a’r gweithwyr.

Bydd y seminarau o ddiddordeb i berchnogion busnes sydd â diddordeb mewn ystyried eu strategaethau ymadael ac i ymgynghorwyr busnes sy’n dymuno gwybod rhagor am yr ymagwedd er mwyn cynghori’u cleientiaid.

Rhian Edwards yw Rheolwr y prosiect Olyniaeth dan nawdd Llywodraeth Cymru a Chronfa Datblygu Rhanbarthol Ewrop yng Nghanolfan Cydweithredol Cymru. Dywedodd,

“Mae’r rhyddhad treth newydd hwn yn hynod o ddeniadol i berchnogion busnes ystyried perchnogaeth gweithwyr yn strategaeth ymadael fwriadol. Mae’n cynnig y gorau o ddau fyd, sef strategaeth ymadael sy’n effeithlon o ran treth ac ymagwedd sy’n ymglymu gweithwyr a’u gwneud yn gyfrifol am eu dyfodol eu hunain.”

Mae rhagor o wybodaeth ar gael ar wefan Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru http://www.walescooperative.org/capital-gains-tax-events.

Gellir cadw lle’n uniongyrchol hefyd trwy ffonio’r Ganolfan ar 0300 111 5050

 

 

 

Wales Co-operative Centre

The Wales Co-operative Centre was set up thirty years ago and ever since has been helping businesses grow, people to find work and communities to tackle the issues that matter to them. Its advisors work co-operatively across Wales, providing expert, flexible and reliable support to develop sustainable businesses and strong, inclusive communities. www.walescooperative.org

Succession and Consortia Project

The Wales Co-operative Centre’s Succession and Consortia project is funded by Welsh Government and European Regional Development Fund. It offers support to business owners and employees considering employee ownership and creation of worker co-operatives. It also offers support to businesses working to work together to form co-operative consortia.

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

Sefydlwyd Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru ddeng mlynedd ar hugain yn ôl ac ers hynny bu’n helpu busnesau i dyfu, pobl i gael gwaith a chymunedau i ddatrys y problemau sydd o bwys iddynt. Mae ymgynghorwyr y Ganolfan yn gweithio’n gydweithredol ledled Cymru, gan ddarparu cefnogaeth arbenigol, hyblyg a dibynadwy er mwyn datblygu busnesau cynaliadwy a chymunedau cadarn a chynhwysol. www.walescooperative.org

Prosiect Olyniaeth a Chonsortia

Ariannir prosiect Olyniaeth a Chonsortia Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru gan Lywodraeth Cymru a Chronfa Datblygu Rhanbarthol Ewrop. Mae’n cynnig cefnogaeth i berchnogion busnes a gweithwyr sy’n ystyried perchnogaeth gweithwyr a chreu mentrau cydweithredol y gweithwyr. Mae hefyd yn cynnig cefnogaeth i fusnesau sy’n gweithio ar gydweithio i ffurfio consortia cydweithredol.

 

The search for Wales’s top social enterprise leader begins here!

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The search for Wales’s top social enterprise leader begins here!

Today, nominations open for the 2014 Leading Wales Awards. The Wales Co-operative Centre is co-sponsor of the Social Enterprise category, alongside Social Firms Wales.

This year, the awards scheme is celebrating 10 years as the only established, prestigious, pan-Wales awards that recognise, identify and celebrate individual people in Wales whose leadership is having a real impact in business, Public Services, not for profit organisations and communities across Wales.

The focus for the 2014 Leading Wales Awards is to identify and celebrate ‘Individual Leaders in Wales whose leadership is making a real difference and has had positive impact’.

The awards categories are designed to attract entries from all sectors and from all levels of leadership in Wales. There are 8 proposed categories in the 2014 Awards to celebrate individual leadership.

4 generic categories for individual leadership in:

Public Sector 

Voluntary / Not for Profit sector 

Leadership in the Private Sector 

Leadership in Social Enterprise

Categories for individual leadership (for which nominations can come from any sector):

Young Leader (14 – 25 years) 

Team Leader 

Women in Leadership 

Leadership for the Future

The Leadership in Social Enterprise category is open to individuals working within a social enterprise that have a leadership role at whatever level of responsibility. Social enterprises are businesses trading for social and environmental purposes. Social enterprises are distinctive because their social and / or environmental purpose is absolutely central to what they do – their profits are re-invested to sustain and further their mission for positive change.

Last year, the Leadership in Social Enterprise award was won by Menna Jones, who is the CEO of Antur Waunfawr, a social enterprise in North Wales which has developed a range of sustainable projects that create training and employment for people with learning disabilities and other disadvantaged people.

Derek Walker, Chief Executive of the Wales Co-operative Centre thinks the awards play an important role: “The Wales Co-operative Centre is once again delighted to be co-sponsoring the Leadership in Social Enterprise category. Strong, visionary leadership is a key driver in the growth and sustainability of social enterprises and has a major impact on their contribution to the Welsh economy. These awards provide valuable recognition for inspirational social enterprise leaders who can be role models for the sector.”

This week, there are launch events for the awards in North Wales (Wrexham, 16th January) and South Wales (Cardiff, 17th January). These will be followed by ‘Leadership Café’ events in Ebbw Vale (23rd January) and Llandudno (19th February), at Monwel Ltd and Crest Co-operative respectively.

You have two months to submit your nominations for this year’s Leading Wales Awards, with the closing date being Friday 14th March. More information is available on the Leading Wales Awards website.

Written by David Madge

January 13, 2014 at 8:30 am

Beacons Creative at Christmas #gofullcircle

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Beacons Creative at Christmas #gofullcircle

This blog post is the latest part of our Winter ‘Go Full Circle’ campaign, which is promoting the role of – and encouraging consumers to support – Welsh social enterprises, co-operatives and other community organisations in the run-up to Christmas.

A chilly December afternoon isn’t cooling the festive spirit in Cardiff City Centre, with less than a week until the big day; there are lots of people getting last minute gifts. Mark Smith is in the Welsh capital to meet Brian Popsys, CEO of Beacons Creative, as he does a brisk trade at the Cardiff Christmas Market:

The Beacons Creative market pitch is sandwiched in between other traders selling everything from jewellery to woodcraft and toys to cupcakes. For many, this is their busiest time of the year.

Beacons Creative (Wales) Limited is a unique social firm producing candles and related products, whilst providing employment opportunities for people with learning difficulties and those furthest from the workforce. Born out of an eleven year day care service provided by Powys County Council, Beacons Creative became a company limited by guarantee in 2009. The company’s objective is to develop sales, create new products, provide employment opportunities for service users, within a safe and caring environment, and transform this day care service into a successful and profitable business.

Beacons Creative evolved from Beacons Candles, following an enquiry about employment opportunities from one of the service users at the time. This led to the externalisation of the previous day care service.

Brian told us that things are going well: “Trade is good. We’re taking lots of orders, including for bespoke candles. Some of the candles are made with recycled materials. We’ve also brought soya wax candles into the range, among many others.

“Every month, we’ve looked at how we can continue to take more people on, to provide paid employment. We’re hoping to take on another 22 people next year, as we expand the business to make soaps and other toiletries”.

You can hear an interview with Brian Popsys on our SoundCloud site.

The organisation featured in this blog post is just one of many that you can support. Many more can be found on our Go Full Circle directory. Happy Christmas and ‘buy social’.

Written by David Madge

December 19, 2013 at 9:28 am

New £1.5m fund for small business capital projects opens.

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The Welsh Government has announced that it is inviting applications for funding from the £1.5 million SME Small Capital Investment Grant fund – but you will have to be quick to be in with a chance to apply.

The funding is designed for capital projects that aim to encourage investment to support the creation and safeguarding of jobs but is only available until January next year.

The SME Small Capital Investment Grant is open to eligible small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Wales. Businesses have until 20th January 2014 to bid for grants of between £5,000 and £25,000 towards the cost of their project at an intervention rate of up to 50%. Match funding is available for projects costing between £5,000 and £25,000.

The fund is managed by the Business Wales one stop shop service. In order to access the grant, you will need to contact a Business Wales Business Advisor as soon as possible. Further information can be found on the Business Wales website or by contacting the Business Wales Helpline on 03000 6 03000.

https://business.wales.gov.uk/news-events/news/sme-small-capital-investment-grant

Written by David Madge

November 29, 2013 at 1:22 pm

New housing bond is great news for development of affordable housing in Wales.

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The Welsh Government today launched an innovative new financing scheme which will support the development of over 1000 new affordable homes in Wales. The Welsh Housing Finance Grant Scheme will allow housing associations to use rental income from the new housing stock to service the debt.

Twenty Housing Associations are taking part in the scheme, with coverage across all 22 local authority areas in Wales. Construction work on the first projects will commence in 2013.

As part of the scheme, M&G Investments are providing the main new source of finance for Wales’s Registered Social Landlords, in light of the lack of long term funding currently available from banks.

Dave Palmer is the Co-operative Housing Project Manager at the Wales Co-operative Centre, “We welcome this long term innovative funding for Affordable Housing where the Welsh Government guarantee the interest payments for 30 years. This will help our Housing Association partners and may enable other development finance to be used for Co-operative Housing where the need exists.

We hope that this will pave the way for a co-operative housing bond for England and Wales in the next few years”.

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