South West Co-operative Support advisers have a track record of providing business advice and support to new starts, conversions and existing co-operatives and community led (social enterprise) initiatives in the SW region for over 30 years. Advisers are accredited and work to a code of conduct.

For programmes (under which South West Co-operative Support may be able to provide free at point of contact advice) see our Programmes page 

Consultancy and training at an hourly or daily rate is available for:

  • groups at pre-feasibility and start up stage;
  • conversion of an existing business or service; or
  • existing organisations

Contact us for further information on how we may be able to support you. An indicative list of expertise:

Business & Strategic planning

Raising finance

Continuous improvement and quality standards

The right legal structure and internal governance


Impact measurements



Project management


Business & strategic planning:

  • For success, resilience and sustainability advice and support is tailored to either new start phase or existing enterprises looking to grow;
  • Feasibility testing of a new business idea or product/service

Raising Finance:

  • Advice on, and evaluation of, all forms of finance available and their appropriateness; If youare looking to raise significant investment (up to £500K) you may be eligible for SWCS support through Big Potential
  • Financial modelling ( including for complex renewable energy projects and long term projections for land and asset based acquisitions);
  • Community Shares advice and facilitation of process & relevant documentation and due diligence.
  • Community Shares compliance mark
  • Due diligence & loan appraisal and advice with a particular emphasis on financial management and long-term loan monitoring via Co-operative and Community Finance (CCF). There is an existing relationship between SWCS and CCF but, as a separate organisation, objectivity with loan appraisal is maintained.
  • Co-operative and Community Finance also provide loans to co-operatives and social enterprises

Continuous improvement and quality standards:

  • Evaluation and improvement of management systems and processes to enable the organisation to grow.

The right legal structure and internal governance:

  • Recommending the most appropriate legal structure and constitution related to the depth and variety of ways to raise finance;
  • Incorporation service using nationally recognised model rules for every legal form of business;
  • Training in the roles and responsibilities of the Directors, Secretaries and officers plus satisfying the organisation's regulatory bodies;
  • Working with a membership and/or key stakeholders;
  • Training in Decision making and conflict resolution.


  • Evaluation and improvement of HR practices to enable the organisation to grow effectively;
  • Evaluation of equalities practices and monitoring.

Impact Measurements:

  • Advice and guidance on both social accounts and environmental accounts in relation to capturing relevant impact measurements for the organisation.


Marketing plan –

  • who will buy?,
  • why will they buy?,
  • how will you get them to buy?,
  • best ways to communicate with them.

Community Shares:

  • What are community shares? [YouTube video]
  • What can and can’t you do (regulation and exemptions)
  • Best practice
  • What do you need to think about & what will you need
  • Tax reliefs (EIS, SEIS, SITR)
  • Assistance writing or feedback on your business plan, financial modelling and projections, share offer documents
  • Community shares compliance mark

Community Shares Compliance Mark:

  • A pilot initiative in self-regulation for community shares initiatives led by the Community Shares Unit. Two of our advisers are currently working towards being the first in the country licensed to issue the compliance mark.
    Please contact us if you are planning or launching a community share offer and would like to be one of the first to be assessed for the compliance mark.


SWCS members offer extensive training either as half a day course, or longer programmes:


Project Management:

  • How to run your own projects including reporting and controls
  • How SWCS can support your projects or manage them on your behalf

“Strong aspirations for any of the intrinsic goals – meaningful relationships, personal growth, community contributions – were positively associated with well-being. People who strongly desired to contribute to their community, for example, had more vitality and higher self-esteem. Where people organise their behaviour in terms of intrinsic settings they seem more content, feel better about who they are and display more evidence of psychological health”

Edward L. Deci from ‘Why we do what we do’


‘To build a more sustainable, equitable & democratic world,
we need an empowered, connected & durable movement of citizens’

South West Co-operative Support Limited
Registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefits Society Act 2014
Registered number: 30672R
Registered Address: The Coach House, 2 Upper York Street, Bristol, BS2 8QN
VAT registration number: GB 976 6695 43
Copyright © South West Co-operative Support Limited. All rights reserved | Log In
This site uses cookies to improve the viewing experience. Continued use of the site implies acceptance of this.
Click here to learn how to turn off cookies using your browser.