Co-operative Assistance Network

CAN is launched. Its mission is: “to assist the development of co-operatives and social enterprises”. Essex County Council enter into a contract with CAN to provide development services.

Training for people aiming to establish new enterprises is set up with an adult community college. This collaborative approach is repeated regularly with colleges, business and technology centres.

CAN starts a continuing theme developing and piloting new training– the Co-operative Certificate of Business Administration.

CAN launches a programmes to enable women considering return to work to examine options or challenge the “glass ceiling”.

CAN carries out its first project with disabled people to create employment opportunities – CAN begins work with social firms.

CAN provides consultancy to a successful worker buy-out of a failing manufacturing business, beginning CAN’s work on buyouts.

A study identifies support needs and potential for growth of a local social enterprise sector. A funding bid to the (then) dti brings funding

CAN and Suffolk County Council collaborate to launch SUCCESS (Suffolk Co-operative and Community Enterprise Support Service). A conference is sold out, within months new enterprises launched.

Housing co-operatives in Brighton commission a training package on democratic management of housing co-operatives. CAN is part of the team which originates and pilots the “Training For Growth” programme for small enterprises addressing growth and change.

CAN carries out a feasibility study and business planning exercise for a Regeneration Partnership for the establishment of a craft-workers co-operative. CAN are consultants in the set up of East Anglia Food Link, increasing involvement in rural issues and sustainable agriculture.

Greenwich CDA becomes CAN’s one hundredth customer as CAN takes on delivery of part of their social enterprise start-up project. CAN is part of a trans-European partnership to develop training for set up of social firms (Social Enterprise Employment Development).

CAN develops the Credit Union variant of the Co-operative Certificate of Business Administration and pilots it as part of a successful project to establish a new Credit Union in Hertfordshire. for development of innovative training addressing these.

On behalf of Social Firms UK, CAN develops a regional support organisation and obtains its first project funding. CAN provides business planning and management systems consultancy to Greenwich Credit Union, one of the first to achieve registration with the (then) FSA.

CAN launches the Social Enterprise Start-Up Programme, accredited by the Open College Network (OCN), to empower social entrepreneurs to establish sustainable enterprises.

CAN is founder member of South East Co-operative Support, the first consortium of co-operative development bodies in the UK, as the first step in developing such consortia across regions and trade sectors.

CAN completes a Feasibility Study into the provision of a Social Enterprise Business Incubator in Bournemouth and research and analysis to produce a policy recommendation for a Social Enterprise Support Delivery System for the West of England.

Mapping exercises establish the extent and nature of the social economy in South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset. A Development Needs Analysis of the Bristol Co-operative Sector is carried out. Using this benchmark study, CAN analyses and outlines how an “excellent service” can be created to meet these needs. Community Development Workers and local champions in Southampton receive Introduction to Social Enterprise Development Training to enable them to recognise potential for social enterprise development and work with local groups through the early stages of the development process. Business Link commission CAN to deliver support to social enterprises in Dorset.

A 4-day variant of the Social Enterprise Start Up training programme is delivered to clients of Business Link across Dorset, Hampshire, and Isle of Wight, with Master Classes in Funding & Investment Acquisition and Social Accounting. As a member of South East Co-operative Support, CAN delivers training and consultancy funded by South East England Development Agency and European Social Fund, re-funded for the following two years.

Business Links’ consultants across the South East attend CAN’s Introduction to Social Enterprise training. CAN is engaged by Co-operatives UK to work on production of the Worker Co-operative Code of Good Governance. CAN provide professional development training piloting the OCN accredited Co-operative and Social Enterprise Development Worker Training Programme.

CAN provides development assistance to co-operatives across the South East through a project funded by the Co-operative Group bringing a glowing report from the external assessor and helping to develop a model of high productivity, low cost service provision. CAN develops a training programme to assist people with moderate and severe learning difficulties participate in business governance and management decisions. Governance Training programmes in London receive standing ovations from paying participants.

CAN becomes a key component of the delivery system as the Co-operative Enterprise Hub is launched. CAN develop Quality Systems and Quality Auditing function for regional consortia.

CAN moves into Direct Provision of Services such as Company Secretary services, accounting, preparation of year end accounts, personnel administration and representation at Industrial Tribunal.

CAN becomes an Open Source organisation and begins release of its tools to other Co-operative Development Bodies and to publish information papers through its web site.

CAN designs the Co-operative City concept and manages the delivery of a pilot project in Southampton. Alternative Energy Co-operatives benefit from CAN research into VAT, clawing back tens of thousands in taxes.

CAN becomes a Credit Union Development Body providing a full range of support services to Credit Unions. Agreement with chartered accountants delivers expert auditing service for Co-operative Societies and Community Benefit Societies. Financial projection tools for alternative energy co-operatives are developed.

CAN helps to establish Development Co-operative (the national consortium of co-operative development bodies) and the Credit Union Support Organisation UK – initiatives which will have a significant impact on development of the social economy in years to come. CAN is contracted to research the resources and links and author the advice and guidance content of the new Social Business Wales web site.

CAN begins delivery of training and consultancy services to enable social enterprises to expand and enhance their services and source investment within the framework of the Big Potential programme and for voluntary sector infrastructure organisations to develop within the framework of the Big Assist Programme.
CAN is accepted as a Technical Support Provider for the Community Economic Development Programme.

CAN is approved as Preferred Providers to Co-operatives UK for The Hive Business Support Programme.
CAN is appointed Consultant Organisation to 3-year, £11m Social Business Wales support programme.

CAN provides consultancy to a City Council on employee involvement strategies.

Co-operative Assistance Network Limited is a registered society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 No. 30714R
Registered address: The Coach House, 2 Upper York Street, Bristol BS2 8QN