Software development company Co-operative Web is an excellent example of how supportive finance from Co-op Loan Fund can help with business growth.
The Birmingham-based workers’ co-operative builds systems, web applications and content-managed solutions across a range of technical platforms. It works with many different types of business from small social enterprises to large multi-nationals. Its clients include Premier League football clubs and government organisations.
It was set up in 2006 by four former employees of the IT department of Midcounties Co-operative. Now there are over 20 employees. They elect a board of directors to manage the business with elections occurring each year.
Nicholas Greenhill said: “We are incredibly busy. In 2016 our turnover topped £1m and growth is continuing. We keep winning big contracts, which is nice but it can also have its challenges. Borrowing from a lender who really understands co-ops has allowed us to recruit in the areas needed to deliver these projects while not having cash flow impacted. I don’t think we could have managed to get where we are now without their help.”
Much of Co-operative Web’s work goes on in the background helping to make large organisations and complex processes function effortlessly. The co-operative rarely gets (and doesn’t expect) public recognition (“Basically, we’re geeks for hire, we focus on making the right product for the right client so they can get the most out of their business. Our goal is to deliver a solid, and slick system that does everything the client needs!” Nick Greenhill says).
Ian Rothwell of Co-operative & Community Finance, which manages Co-op Loan Fund, said: “Co-operative Web is an excellent example of how skilled technical people work better in a co-operative environment. The workers are happy and so are the customers, and we are happy to support them.”