Co-operate Scotland is a co-operative of business advisers who are members and associate members of the co-operative. We have diverse backgrounds in co-operatives and community business as well as wider professional experience.

You and your needs are our starting point. We’ll always work with your co-op or community business in the way that works best for you – whether it’s getting you started, supporting you with problem-solving, helping you find clarity or guiding you through strategic or financial development challenges.

We’ve got hands-on experience ourselves of starting co-ops, managing co-ops, handling conflict in co-ops, promoting and marketing co-ops and developing and growing co-ops across a wide variety of sectors.

We’ve delivered high-quality, carefully considered, tailored advice and support in multiple contexts to a huge variety of organisations so we can match you to the exact help you need. 

Support may be face-to-face sessions, workshops, advice and guidance, hand-holding, mentoring or training. We can also take on specific pieces of work on contract to fill an in-house skills gap.

Why we’re here

We believe Scotland has an untapped appetite for democratically-driven, locally-owned and community-focused businesses. Businesses genuinely committed to raising everyone up: equally, fairly and together.

Time and again, co-operatives and community businesses have demonstrated that as well as being profitable and successful, they are
more resilient than traditional businesses.

Working co-operatively, so that all workers have an equal say and equal status, promotes fairness and inclusion. Co-operatives are a practical, proven and effective way to tackle disadvantage, marginalisation and inequality. To
make Scotland a fairer place to live and work.

That’s why we’re here.

How do we work with you & how much does it cost?

Get in touch with us for an informal chat and we’ll work out together what you need.

If you’re a start-up or existing co-op that needs some development support we’ll signpost you to suitable funding, for example through Co-operative Development Scotland. If you’re not eligible for support we can provide you with a quote.

Still unsure?

Get in touch.

Meet the team

Aaron Hirtenstein

Aaron was a founder member of Agile Collective and helped develop CoTech.

He is currently providing finance and operational support to Open Food Network UK, a platform co-op.

Aaron is also the Community Lead for Open Digital Co-operative, a new multi-stakeholder co-op for councils and suppliers.

Brian Morgan

Cooperatives were always appealing to me as my mother had been a trade unionist, through her I saw the power in truly working together. My own experiences and my work in social care then showed me that mutual aid is an effective way
for people to live well together, so this form of cooperation also appeals.

During my time within the social care sector, I saw that some companies exist under the pretence of care but at heart are solely about profit. When I came to setting up an entity of my own, I insisted on it being a co-operative so that
care was truly at its heart.

That means I have hands-on experience of setting up a cooperative from the very start (which makes stained glass products) and it is successfully running now seven years later. Since then, I have helped many other groups and collectives
consider cooperation as a business model (mainly in the cultural/arts sector). I also co-researched and co-authored a report into cultural cooperatives in Scotland, commissioned by Nesta.

Lately, I have been branching out helping a wide variety of groups embrace cooperative models. I graduated from the Barefoot Co-operators training armed with a whole host of tools/methods that can potentially help bring about a wealth
– and care – building community throughout Scotland.

Jaye Martin

Hi and thanks for visiting our website! I’m an experienced co-operative and community business practitioner. I specialise in providing high-quality advice and support to co-operative enterprises in the areas of governance,
legal structures, co-operative organisational types, business planning, strategy, collaborative bidding, funding and investment opportunities, and signposting to support networks across Scotland. I’m also experienced in providing
technical advice and input for briefing papers, webinars, case studies, training materials, etc; and in developing policy & strategy.

I’ve got a background in corporate law, employee share schemes and equity investment, and I draw on this experience to benefit the community and co-operative businesses I support. I’m also a trustee on the Board of Co-operative
and Community Finance.

I have two young kids and, when I’m not wrangling them, I like to exercise, read and garden. Pre-kids, I did loads of hillwalking and mountaineering and love the Scottish hills. I’ve also had some memorable adventures in
the Alps, the Himalayas and Mt. Kilimanjaro

Joanne Elston

Jo became interested in co-operatives when she first became involved with SHRUB Co-op, a multi-stakeholder co-operative promoting zero waste in Edinburgh. Jo was interested in the way that it felt to be a part of SHRUB compared to
other more ‘traditional’ experiences up until that point. 

After moving on for SHRUB in 2022, Jo did the Barefoot training course as well as training in Facilitation and Conflict Resilience with Navigate.

She is now working part time for South West Co-operative Development as a Co-operative Development Consultant where, as well as working with varied client groups, she has worked on updates to model rules. 

Outside of work, Jo enjoys lino printing as a creative outlet and enjoys getting up into the hills when the weather allows it!

Louise Scott

Louise has 20 years of hands-on experience in co-operative business. She was a founder of workers’ co-operative media co-op.

Louise has a long track record in bringing co-ops together and advocating for co-operation: in the Worker Coop Federation, Co-Tech network of tech and digital co-ops, at the Scottish Parliament Cross-Party Group, organising Glasgow’s
co-op meet-up, and representing co-ops on the Board of Social Enterprise Scotland and The Code.

Collaboration and the power of networks have always motivated Louise. She worked at the European Commission while taking her Open University MBA; and became a consultant to organisations like Informal European Theatre Meeting, Arts Council of Great Britain, British Film Institute, Finnish Arts Council, Max Plank Institute, and, based at ECAS, delivering workshops across Europe, publishing guides to European funding and policy, and co-founding Culture Action
Europe.

Returning to Scotland, Louise became Coordinator of the European Commission’s MEDIA Programme in the UK; then Nations and Regions Director at Skillset, supporting partnerships of employers, trade associations and trade unions.

The reason the co-operative movement feels like home to Louise is her lifelong commitment to equality and social justice. Louise was on the Board of Glasgay! LGBTQ arts festival, a founder of activist video group Camcorder Guerillas, volunteer at Stramullion Women’s Publishing Collective, served on Glasgow Children’s Panel for 13 years, has been a befriender to young care-experienced people, is Co-Chair and former Treasurer of her local allotments, was a volunteer English-language teacher for asylum seekers; and hosts asylum-seekers in her home with Room for Refugees.

When not co-operating or volunteering, Louise is on her bike, at her allotment, or foraging and wild camping in the hills.

Martin Meteyard

Martin Meteyard has worked in and with a variety of co-ops for more than 40 years – starting off with 15 years at Greencity Wholefoods worker co-op, followed by a six-year stint as the Co-operative Group’s membership and community
affairs manager in Scotland, and more recently advising co-ops as a consultant for Co-operative Development Scotland, the Plunkett Foundation and others.

He has also been a passionate Fair Trade campaigner for most of that time, co-founding Equal Exchange UK, serving on the boards of Cafédirect and Zaytoun, and helping Scotland to achieve Fair Trade Nation status as chair of the Scottish
Fair Trade Forum.

In his spare time, Martin reads a lot of fiction, gets out to music gigs as well as the cinema and the theatre. When he can, he delights in making jam with fruit from his garden, and has accumulated far too many old books (mostly about
co-ops!).

Mike Shaw

Mike is a co-founder of Edinburgh Student Housing Co-operative (ESHC), the UK’s largest student co-op. He is a co-founder and, more recently, chair of Student Co-op Homes, a multi-stakeholder co-operative that exists to secure properties
for student housing co-operatives, and was involved with its community share issue. During his time at ESHC Mike became a director of Marchmont & Sciennes Development Trust and helped put together a community right to buy application.

Scott Erwin

Scott has worked at Greencity Wholefoods for over 25 years and is passionate about co-operatives and co-operative working. Scott also helped establish the Glasgow Fairtrade Co-op and was a Director of Kinning Park Complex for 9 years.

Tor Justad

Tor first got involved in co-ops when he was invited to chair an EU conference of young co-op fishermen – and the programme included watching a one hour underwater video of various fishing nets to see how they perform. He’s never looked
back!

Tor’s first involvement with community development and youth work was as a Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) volunteer in the Fiji Islands. Later, back in Scotland, while doing community development work in rural areas, he noticed that
many voluntary organisations could easily become viable trading enterprises as co-ops or community enterprises. 

Since 1994 Tor has run his own freelance business as a co-operative and social economy adviser, working both in the UK and overseas: he was commissioned on one occasion to provide advice to carpet producers about co-operatives and
Fair Trade in Afghanistan. Closer to home, he’s been an adviser with Cooperative Development Scotland and the Plunkett Foundation as well as managing the Central Scotland Community Enterprise Support Unit. 

His areas of expertise include effective governance, rural and island co-ops, co-op start-ups, co-op support and transnational study visits.     

His voluntary roles include Chair of the Association of Community Enterprises in the Highlands & Islands (ACEHI) and Vice-chair of Highlands & Islands Community Energy Company (HICEC). He led an EU project called ‘Retail in
Rural Regions’ focused on rural shops in 5 northern EU countries and he’s currently a Director of the Great Glen Energy Co-op.

He’s passionate about the potential for co-operative involvement in renewable energy.     

Tor is a keen coastal rower.