We’re South West Co-operative Development. You can call us SWCD.

SWCD helps new co-operatives, collectives and community busineses to get started, thrive and grow. We also provide a range of support to existing co-operatives and community benefit societies, or businesses that want to convert.

So much can and has been achieved through co-operative and community ownership and working. From a community working together to save a beloved pub from closing, to people coming together to establish public transport to better serve their community and the environment. At SWCD, we support those seeking to redress social, economic and environmental factors and to work in a fairer way through co-operation.

We have worked with societies from a diverse range of sectors including sustainable energy, transport, housing, farming and leisure.

We currently have a live share offer to help us build and grow. To find out more about our work, our future plans, and the details of the share offer, go to our About page;

Services we offer:

Start Up Support

SWCD can guide new start up businesses through the processes of registering a legal organisation, creating business plans, deciding which financing options are right for you,and anything else needed to start your business.

Converting to a Co-operative

SWCD can support you through the legal and cultural changes needed to convert your business into a co-operative. We can also work with groups looking to do employee buy outs and help you to put together the financial cases needed.

Support for Existing Businesses

We understand that all businesses have hard times, especially recently with large industry and economic changes. We can help with updating business plans, re-doing feasibility studies and marketing work, and help to re-engage communities.


SWCD provide a complete registration service for a wide range of legal structures.

We can help make sense of the different legal structures and help you identify the most suitable structure to enable your enterprise to flourish.

We can help you to tailor model rules to suit your needs, both from our own set of model rules or any of the other ones out there.

Raising Finance

Businesses need funding at different phases of their lifetime. SWCD can help in a number of ways: advising on financial models; raising social investment and Community Shares, and support with grant funding. We can also help you write the business plans that will demonstrate your case to potential investors.

Workshops and Networking

We run Workshops and Networking events in the South West to increase awareness of what Co-operatives and Community Businesses are, think about why we should promote them, and learn who else in the area we can work with. These workshops are open to people interested in starting a community businesses as well as anyone working in Economic Development or Business Support.

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Is a co-op right for you?

We recently ran the first of what will become a series of workshops in the South West, introducing the idea of co-operatives and community benefit societies and why they might be the right choice for certain groups.

We had speakers from the University of Exeter, Exeter Community Energy and Exeter Growers all sharing their perspectives and experience.

Please keep an eye out for the next workshop we run!

“I left the workshop more optimistic, more empowered and more determined to promote the cooperative movement politically and practically. Thank you.”

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South West Co-operative Development Limited
Registered as a Community Benefit Society: 31193R
Registered office address:
10 East Reach,
Office phone: 0300 456 2265
Email: development@southwest.coop