Construction firms urged to consider collaborating to achieve growth and access new markets

Collaboration for growthScottish Enterprise has opened entries to a competition for businesses in Scotland’s construction sector with aspirations to collaborate.

The aim of the Collaboration Prize 2016/17 is to encourage firms to think collaboratively and pitch an idea for a new collaborative enterprise that will help them to access new markets. This could be a new sector or a geographical market including international markets.

To be eligible the business or consortium must be based in Scotland, have an innovative idea to implement by setting up a consortium co-operative and have identified other potential members for the consortium.

Consortium co-operatives are established when businesses come together for a shared purpose; to buy or sell in scale, market more effectively, share facilities or jointly bid for contracts. By collaborating businesses can reduce costs, share risks and create new platforms for growth. Members could be businesses, partnerships or individuals, and the co-operative may be for any purpose which supports the members.

Accessing new and international markets will be a specific focus of this year’s competition and up to two of the five prizes will be awarded to those consortia who demonstrate strong international ambitions to be delivered via the collaboration.

Sarah Deas, director, Scottish Enterprise, said: “The Collaboration Prize provides the opportunity to raise awareness of the business benefits of collaboration. Working with others can help a business grow, and reduce the costs and risks of tackling new markets or investing in new processes.

“Simply speaking collaboration can make your company better at what it does. Whether it’s about sharing resources or finding new markets, collaboration can bring efficiency and lead to increased profits.

“This year the Collaboration Prize focuses on accessing new markets, with a particular focus on international markets. It aims to help small businesses achieve scale and realise international ambitions.”

Minister for business, innovation and energy, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “Scotland is a ‘can do’ nation and there is no doubt that innovation and collaboration are key to adapting to changing market circumstances and customer needs, be they local, national, regional or global. The Collaboration Prize will help to bring together the best with the best, forging strong links that are vital for creating and sustaining economic growth.”

The Prize will be open for entries until November 18. Up to five winners will be selected by a judging panel to receive £5,000 (to implement their collaborative idea), support to set up as a consortium co-operative, up to £5,000 business support (delivered by Scottish Enterprise or Highlands and Islands Enterprise), and export advisor support where appropriate. The international winners will be announced at a ceremony in March 2017.

One of the winners of last year’s Collaboration Prize, ArchBlue Ltd, aims to provide an integrated service that supports site managers with the stewardship of historic buildings, structures, landscapes and archaeological sites. Founded by four organisations involved in providing complementary services to the heritage sector, the consortium provides a wide range of services including 3D measuring and modelling, archaeological recording and visualisation, conservation planning and 3D printing.

Combined, these services provide customers with a comprehensive approach to heritage site management as well as engaging methods of communicating a site’s story to the public.

The Collaboration Prize is delivered by Co-operative Development Scotland on behalf of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Island Enterprise in partnership with Business Gateway and the Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

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