Strategies for growth and replication
NCEC does not currently have plans to expand its business either in size or geography. Their focus is on meeting the needs of worker members in a sustainable way.
However, NCEC is passionate about sharing its learnings and experiences in establishing a majority employee owned co-operative, with like-minded individuals or groups who are interested in replicating the model to deliver improved outcomes for people in need. In support of this objective, NCEC has produced a report Participation and Production: A Resource for Community Enterprise which documents their learnings and experiences.
NCEC has identified a range of opportunities for building the capacity of its members and strengthening its financial sustainability. These opportunities include:
- Enhance culture of member ownership and member responsibility for the co-operative.
- Enhance and deepen supporters’ (i.e. volunteers, family, local community) involvement within NCEC.
- Build a stronger financial and asset base.
- Build a sharper business focus at times although it requires balancing with people/participation focus.
NCEC is also considering changes to its governance including:
- Providing support to worker members to perform tasks such as preparing reports.
- Changing classes of membership to differentiate between worker members with a disability (for whom the NCEC was established) and members who support the primary purpose of NCEC as well as organisational members who do not have voting rights.
- Changing the rules of the Board composition so there is a set percentage of worker members on the committee. Current practice is 40 per cent.
These practices and planned improvements are about ensuring NCEC increases the involvement of worker members and stays true to its primary purpose; to provide employment and training to members with learning difficulties.