Our friendly team of experts can offer free advice and support across a wide range of areas.
See this page in: Cymraeg
Since 1982, we’ve been helping to strengthen and empower Welsh communities by supporting the growth of co-operatives and social enterprises, and by collaboratively delivering projects that provide skills and tackle exclusion.
Thanks to generous funding, we are delighted to be able to share our expertise and experience with you for free, so that you can concentrate your efforts on having a positive impact on communities and environments across Wales.
How to use this section:
Below, we have listed our main areas of expertise so you can find the help and information you need. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to signpost you further.
Our team of experts can offer you one-to-one advice to help you make your business flourish. Thanks to funding from the Welsh Government and the European Regional Development Fund we can offer you this support free of charge.
Support on offer:
- Visioning – We can work with your group to ensure there is a shared vision for the business
- Structure – We can advise you on different legal structures and help you choose the right one for your new enterprise
- Incorporation – We can help to write your governing document and get your business incorporated
- Director training – We can provide training for your directors so they have confidence in their roles and responsibilities
- Governance & board engagement – We can help you set up a governance system and engage with potential board members
- Investment strategy – We can help you develop an investment strategy and advise you on grants, loans, crowd funding and community shares
- Compliance & risk – We can support you to identify any compliancy issues or risks that the business may have and how these could be managed
- Policies – We can help you to create policies to ensure that your organisation is run well
- Opening bank account – We can help you to open a bank account for your new enterprise
We are proud to be part of the Business Wales family, whose experts can also provide you with additional business and financial planning support.
Starting a new business can be challenging, and no matter how well prepared you are, there are some lessons that can only be learnt by experience. To help you navigate the stresses of a start-up, we can pair you up with established social business leaders who can provide peer-to-peer mentoring. This can be face-to-face or virtual, whatever suits you and your business best.
If you are part of an established social enterprise and are looking to grow, expand or diversify, whether that’s through increasing turnover, diversifying into new products or services, attracting new customers or changing structure, we can help you. Through our Social Business Wales (SBW) project we can support you with:
- Visioning & Growth Planning
- Stakeholder Engagement
- Legal Structure Advice & Incorporation
- Board Development
- Business Planning
- Financial Planning
- Workforce Development
- Sales Strategy & Marketing Planning
- Tax & VAT Advice
- Recruitment & HR
- Joint Bidding
- ICT Support
- Sector Specific Technical Advice
- Succession Planning
- Employee Ownership Structures
- Independent Business Valuations
Additional advice on areas such as intellectual property and international trade support can also be provided through our links with Business Wales.
Whether you’re new to co-operative and community-led housing, have already formed a group or want to join an existing group, we’re here to help.
Our support is in five stages.
Engage: Never heard of co-operative and community-led housing? We’re here to introduce the idea and see if it could be the answer to your housing problems.
Explore: Once you know a little about co-operative and community-led housing, you can find out more through our events, workshops and publications. We’ll answer all your questions and put you in touch with likeminded people to explore the potential of developing a scheme. You may be able to apply for a small grant of up to £2500.
Enable: if you’re ready to establish a housing project, we’ll support your group to develop the cohesion, capability and capacity you’ll need to make it a reality. With our essential enterprise training, technical support and advice, you’ll be ready to take the next steps. You can also use our online toolkit which has a wealth of useful resources.
Expand: As your plans progress, we offer operational support, peer support networks and sustainable strategies to maximise success in the long term.
Educate and influence: You’ve achieved your vision, but we want to tell the world about your success! We commission research and promote your story so that others can learn from your experience.
Whether you are a group which has an idea for a new co-operative, an existing care service provider, or perhaps a member of local authority, health board or housing association, we can assist you through our Care to Co-operate (CtC) project.
- Bring people together to discuss ideas and think about ways to work co-operatively
- Help develop an idea and test whether it’ll work in practice
- Help you think about how to manage the service so that everyone has a say in how it’s run
- Provide training on all aspects of running a co-operative service
- Support you with all the legal aspects of setting up the service
- Help to re-design existing services to be more co-operative so that people have a strong voice and control of their services
- Provide guidance on business planning, legal structures and governance
- Assist partners wanting to commission services from co-operatives and social enterprises
Through our Digital Communities Wales (DCW) project we can help organisations that are working with people who could benefit from having basic digital skills.
- Digital inclusion assessment – An initial assessment of your organisation to help you develop and deliver digital inclusion activities
- Digital training for frontline staff and volunteers – Training for staff and volunteers to them help others get online and use the internet effectively and safely (to find out more visit our training pages)
- Digital equipment loan – Short-term loans of digital equipment including tablets, laptops and Fitbits so you can deliver digital activities
- Digital volunteer support – Help to develop a digital volunteering programme, match organisations with digital volunteers and train existing volunteers. There are also opportunities to link in with our Digital Heroes programme (to find out more visit our volunteer pages)
- Digital inclusion accreditation – The Digital Inclusion Charter can show your organisation’s commitment to alleviating digital exclusion (to find out more visit our Charter page)
- Partnerships – Any organisation is welcome to join our network of local Get Online partnerships which have been developed with stakeholders across Wales. We also build partnerships between organisations where working together can progress digital inclusion aims.
The Wales Co-operative Centre has been helping businesses become employee-owned since it was established in 1982. Notable clients include Tower Colliery, Tregoes Waffles and Cwmni Da. The Centre helps Welsh business owners and employees to choose the right model and has a team of experienced specialist advisors to guide you through the legal and financial details and broker the right deal.
We always keep in mind the bigger picture – the longer term legacy you want the business to create for employees and customers.
Whether you’re a company owner, employee, or professional adviser, we offer guidance and advice on helping you find the best model for your route to employee ownership.
Employee ownership support is delivered by through our Social Business Wales project, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Welsh Government. It is part of the Business Wales service.