In summer 2021, at the tail-end of the Covid-19 pandemic, Islington Council needed to invest in local businesses. As a big believer in building an Inclusive Economy, the council wanted to boost cooperatives, which have a proven record of investing more than traditional businesses into people and planet. Islington approached us to run a Cooperative Development Programme.

Over the course of 18 months, SPACE4 :

  • Provided training, mentorship and grants to new and emerging co-ops in the borough who were working in the Foundational Economy
  • Ran public events to raise awareness of the benefits of co-ops
  • Worked with Islington Council and its network of anchor institutions to embed Community Wealth Building principles and to get them to identify opportunities for cooperatives in their supply chains
  • Developed a strategy for long-term co-operative support in the borough

The impact we made

  • All 21 businesses who participated in the mentorship, training and funding programme reported feeling more confident to run their businesses and to adopt cooperative ways of working
  • Hundreds of people attended our events, improving awareness of co-ops, and connections between people in and around them
  • One department within Islington changed the way that its procurement process worked, so that it was more accessible to small local providers
  • Islington Council felt more informed of the opportunities and risks around long-term cooperative development support

“Since getting mentorship and funding we have been able to scale our business to another level. We have been able to form a Coop CIC that will help to mentor, build and promote small Black Owned businesses.”

~ Tricia, Branding Buffet

“We received outstanding mentoring and I was able to generate some commercial income for the co-op.”

~ Rona, Empowered Talent