Arrival of Enterprise Hub signals exciting Co-operative future in the North East

September 30, 2010

Businesses and communities in the north east received a massive boost today (30 September) with the launch of The Co-operative Enterprise Hub in the region.

Announced at the Assembly Rooms, Newcastle, The Co-operative Enterprise Hub is a business support service designed to create and grow member-owned enterprises in the area.

Part of a £5 million, UK-wide, investment in the sector by The Co-operative Group - the world’s largest consumer-co-operative with 5.3 million members - the ‘Hub’ operates through a central website and is delivered locally by a partnership of co-operative development specialists.

With the recent financial crisis shaking confidence and trust in traditional business models, the co-operative approach is enjoying renewed interest from a public concerned for environment, ethical trading and sustainability - from pubs to grocers and cafes to childcare, it is seen as an attractive business model for today’s ethically motivated entrepreneur.Angela Davies, The Co-operative Group’s Co-operative Development Manager

Angela Davies, The Co-operative Group’s Co-operative Development Manager, said: “We are seeing a growth in the number and diversity of co-operative enterprises. Communities are setting-up, running and growing member-owned enterprises, embracing the spirit of co-operation and having a say in the running of businesses and services that are important to their lives - as a modern, effective and relevant approach to business, the co-operative business model has, without doubt, an exciting part to play in fostering future UK enterprises.”

Kevin Marquis, Director of Sustainable Enterprise Strategies (SES) - lead delivery partner for the ‘Hub’ in the area with almost 30 years experience supporting co-operative and community enterprise - added: “People are looking for an alternative approach to business balancing social responsibility with the profit motive. Co-operatives provide this alternative and can inspire changes to the way organisations and services are run - which is of particular relevance with the delivery of public services under review.

“This is an exciting development for our region - providing the specific advice needed to support the development of sustainable co-operative enterprises that can lead to a more equitable and inclusive society and reinforce the fabric of our communities.”

The Co-operative business model has proved to be one of the most enduring and successful ways of operating a business for more than 150 years. Judith Brown, Development Manager with Co-operatives North East, concluded: “In the north east there are more than 200 co-operative businesses with a combined turnover exceeding £1 billion. Co-operatives already make a significant contribution to our region’s economy and this service can help to build on this rich heritage - this is an exciting time to be thinking about setting up a co-operative in the north east.”

A significant proportion of The Co-operative Group’s investment will be used to offer tailored advice and training to new and existing co-operative enterprises including up to four days free business advice.

For more information about The Co-operative Enterprise Hub - how to set up a co-operative enterprise and the support, advice and finance available to new and existing co-operative businesses - visit or email


Additional Information:


About the launch event:

The arrival of The Co-operative Enterprise Hub in the North East is to be announced at 'The Big Co-operative Society' event hosted by Co-operatives North East at the Assembly Rooms, Newcastle upon Tyne.

  • Time: Start at 6.30pm with a buffet; presentations at 7.00pm; finishing by 9.00pm.
  • Date: Thursday 30th September 2010
  • Venue: Assembly Rooms, Fenkle Street, Newcastle upon Tyne. NE1 5XU
  • Booking or further information: Email or call 07760 298988
  • Cost: Free


About The Co-operative Enterprise Hub:

The Co-operative Enterprise Hub is a business support service designed to create and grow member-owned enterprises. To find out more about co-operative enterprise, how to set one up, and the support and finance available to new and existing co-operative businesses, visit email or, telephone Angela Davies - The Co-operative Group’s Co-operative Development Manager - on 0161 246 3020.


About SES:

SES (Sustainable – Enterprise – Strategies) has over 25 years of practical business experience in supporting and developing co-operative and community enterprise and the growth of self-employment within North East England. SES has been appointed by The Co-operative Group to co-ordinate the delivery of The Co-operative Enterprise Hub in the region through a consortium of co-operative development professionals. For further information visit: email or telephone 0191 565 0476.


About Co-operatives North East:

Co‑operatives North East is a Regional Co-operative Council that exists to support, promote, build and represent co‑operative enterprises in North East England - County Durham, Northumberland, Tees Valley and Tyne & Wear - for further information visit


About The Co-operative Group

The Co-operative Group stands apart from other major retailers in the UK as a business which is owned, not by a small group of shareholders, but by more than five million consumers. With core interests in food, financial services, travel, pharmacy, funerals and farms, it has an annual turnover of £14 billion, employs 123,000 staff and operates over 5,000 retail trading outlets handling more than 20 million weekly transactions.  

Following the acquisition of the Somerfield supermarket chain in March 2009, The Co-operative Food is the fifth largest food retailer. The Co-operative Financial Services is one of the largest and most diversified financial mutual businesses, operating The Co-operative Bank, The Co-operative Insurance and Britannia.

The Co-operative is the UK’s number one provider of funeral services, the third largest retail pharmacy chain, a leading travel retailer, supplying the travel needs of more than three million people annually, and is the UK’s largest farmer. Among its other businesses are The Co-operative Motor Group, The Co-operative Electrical Shop and The Co-operative Legal Services.


For more information contact:

Andrew Torr
The Co-operative Group Press Office
Tel: 0161 827 5622


Judith Brown
Development Manager - Co-operatives North East
Tel: 0191 4178816
Mob: 07760 298988