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Just about every organisation needs a website these days and our start up clients are no exception to this rule. To this end, we have recruited a new Associate, Guy Phillips, a website specialist who we have worked with for many years on our own website. Between us we have devised a package of services to help you get a new website up and running with the minimum of fuss. For this service we will charge our normal consultancy rates as per our prices and terms of trade with some additional fees as detailed below. There are no other charges or hidden extra costs.
Our website start up package consists of the following elements:
We have been running a First Consultation Free promotional offer for some time now and are pleased to announce that we have decided to make it permanent and to write it into our Terms of Trade.
So here's the deal. First Consultation Free applies to new customers with whom we have entered into a contract but who have not purchased from us yet. It imposes no obligation to purchase. It applies to our consultancy services only and not to our training products or business services. This offer applies only to customers based in East of England, London, South East and South West England regions. Under these conditions, we will not charge for time, travel, expenses or anything else for your first free consultation.
What the first consultation consists of depends upon the nature of the work under consideration and the needs of the customer so it will be negotiated and agreed in advance. It would normally be a face-to-face meeting of about 2 hours and in most cases we would use a diagnostic tool such as a Development Needs Analysis (DNA). By far our most popular diagnostic tool, we have DNA variants for start ups, existing enterprises and buy-outs.
If we are called in to help with governance issues, we may use a Governance Audit tool, of which we have several variants.
Whichever diagnostic tool we use, we are confident that the output will be useful to you, being objective, comprehensive and coherent. It can be used to set an agenda and action plans for development or, at the very least, food for thought. It can also be used as a benchmark against which progress may be measured.
We have recently taken on a new client-facing Associate, namely Hilary Sudbury. Based in Bristol, Hilary has twenty years of experience in Co-operative Development and is a fully qualified Community Shares Practitioner. Hilary's talents strengthen our offer to our customers and we welcome her into our team.
Credit Unions have been legally allowed to accept corporate members and provide loans to them since 2012. This has opened up the possibility of community-based Credit Unions (as community businesses, co-operatives and social enterprises themselves) becoming key lenders to local community businesses, co-operatives and social enterprises. They are able to make smaller loans of a few thousand pounds for working capital and purchases of relatively small items like vehicles.
Many Credit Unions can improve their own business performance if more of their cash was invested in secure, well performing loans rather than on deposit with clearing banks (and who knows what use they put it to?). They can certainly improve their Social Impact performance if they make critical differences to the capacity of locally-based social enterprises to deliver much-needed services to their local communities and increase local employment in doing so.
It is easier said than done, however. Many Credit Unions have neither the policies and systems nor expertise in place to administer this new business nor the time and resources to acquire them for what is – after all – not their core business. Credit Unions are also justifiably risk-averse and need to know that risk of losses can be minimised, and ideally avoided completely.
CAN has now developed a scheme for accomplishing all the above (including risk-avoidance) and a training programme to deliver it affordably. Our Business Lending Readiness Training for Credit Unions programme has just been piloted with its first client Credit Union and is now shaken down and ready for delivery for any Credit Union.
Incidentally, this first Credit Union sold the concept to its Local Authority who are only too aware of the problems of small social enterprises accessing the working capital required to offer services to their own procurement teams and funded both the training and the staff time for the in-house work!
CAN takes the privacy of your personal data seriously and has always had a strong data protection policy. We welcome GDPR and strive to be more than compliant with the new regulations. Steps we have taken include:
Mediation is a process by which a neutral person assists individuals and/or groups and/or organisations who are in dispute to find a mutually agreed, positive outcome.
Co-operatives and Social Enterprises are full of people who are passionate about social mission, good governance and ethical behaviour. Their disagreements tend to be different in nature and level of intensity to those in other environments where money or status are often the predominant issues. We understand that. We have specialists with decades of experience of governance troubleshooting and practical skills development in dozens of co-ops and social enterprises. We have actually been providing specialist mediation services to clients in the co-operative sector for some time and are now adding this to the range of services on offer on our website.
The service we provide has been continuously improved over many iterations to:
There is much more information about the CAN Mediation Service here.
Internal disputes can bring down the most well-meaning organisations. We want yours to survive and thrive, so if you think we could help, contact us.
Power2Change has announced the opening of the second window for applications to its £10m Community Business Fund. This fund will award grants of between £50,000 – £300,000 to incorporated community businesses in England.
Successful applicants must meet a number of criteria including these four criteria for a community business: to be locally rooted, accountable to the local community, trading for the benefit of the local community and to have broad community impact. If you are involved with such a community business you are strongly advised to investigate further.
We can help in two ways:
1. Help design a project and write an application
2. Provide services to a project to be included in an application.
CAN has been operating a website using content management technology for a little over two years and we would now like to do some research into people's experiences of using it by running a secret shopper programme. Would you like to be a secret shopper?
In particular, we are looking for people who are or can realistically pretend to be past, current or potential customers of any of the following types:
If you are such a person and you have a few minutes to spare, we would be immensely grateful if you were to:
We would like to know:
As a reward, we are prepared to answer for free any question that you add to your report that we would normally charge a consultancy fee to answer.
Thank you so much!
We are very proud to have gained this appointment and to be part of this 3-year, £11m programme.
Social Business Wales is funded by Welsh Government and the European Regional Development Fund. It provides FREE specialist business support to social business looking to grow. It is delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre as part of the Business Wales service.
Social Business Wales brings in experts who can help in specific cases, matching clients' needs to the expertise and capacity of consultants, and that's where CAN comes in. We look forward to assisting the development of co-operatives and social businesses of all shapes and sizes in Wales.
See here for more information and to find out if you may be eligible to apply.
It is possible for an applicant to nominate an approved consultant such as CAN to deliver to them but that outcome is not guaranteed. If you would like to nominate CAN, firstly, thank you, and secondly, please contact us before you apply.
We are pleased to announce that we will be delivering one-to-one advice to new and existing co-ops through The Hive – a business support programme by Co-operatives UK in partnership with The Co-operative Bank.
The Hive’s one-to-one support programme is now open for applications. Please note that the deadline for the first wave is 13 June, and that we expect demand to be high. As such, we encourage applicants to submit the strongest application possible. In particular:
If you're looking to set up or grow a co-op, apply for business advice here.
If you would like CAN to be the provider of this support to you, please choose Co-operative Assistance Network Limited when you apply.
There will be a small charge of £100 (£75 for CUK members).
You can see a short, helpful video here.
CAN is pleased to announce that we are now Preferred Providers to Co-operatives UK for The Hive Business Support Programme that launched on Monday 29 February.
CAN is authorised to provide the following one-to-one advice:
and the following cluster support:
Please see The Hive website for details of how to apply.