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The Ownership Hub is delivered by Employee Ownership Association and Co-operatives UK

West Midlands Ownership Hub

Children playing musical instruments
Music students from SIPS, a West Midlands co-op providing schools with music and arts experiences.

The West Midlands Ownership Hub supports people in the creative industries in the West Midlands to have more control over their working lives. 

The West Midlands Ownership Hub is an initiative to help creatives have more control over their work through owning the organisation in which they work. Evidence shows that people are happier and organisations are more productive and resilient when they do.

We support freelancers, not‑for‑profits and businesses of all sizes in the creative industries. These include theatre, performing arts, film, TV, animation, VR, AR, web design, product design, fashion design, publishing, heritage and galleries, advertising, marketing and more. 

The West Midlands Ownership Hub is delivered by the West Midlands Combined Authority, Co‑operatives UK and the Employee Ownership Association.

Who we support

  • We support freelancers and other innovators to set up co-ops that empower their creativity. 
  • We support creative business owners to share ownership of their organisation with their staff. 
Quote mark
Operating as a co‑op engages our workers. It gives them ownership, agency, and control. They have a say in how we run the business. If you’re a creative worker there’s a personal pride in what you are producing. When you give someone ownership to do that, it empowers them.
– Stephen Hawkes, Managing Director of Birmingham-based creative agency The Developer Society

Examples of creative co-ops and employee owned businesses: 

  • Artefact, Stirchley, Birmingham. A group of freelance artists and musicians have formed a co‑op that shares gallery space and stimulates creative growth within a supportive community. 
  • The Developer Society, Digbeth, Birmingham. A co‑op that is a not-for-profit digital agency, working to make the world a better place.
  • SIPS, Sandwell, West Midlands. A co‑op of schools offering music and arts experiences to its students. See our case study. 
  • Aardman Animations, the Bristol company that created Shaun the Sheep and Wallace and Gromit and became employee‑owned six years ago.
Discover Artefact
A worker co-op of Birmingham-based artists creating opportunities for local people.

How we support creatives in the West Midlands

If you’re a creative who’s interested in setting up a co‑op, or if you’re thinking about who could own your creative business when it’s time for you to move on, you might be interested in the following opportunities:

  • Dream Together Workshop: free half‑day in‑person workshop to test your co‑op dream with a skilled creative facilitator.
  • Business Support for Co‑ops: opportunity to apply for up to six days consultancy to help you set up a co‑op (funded by The Co‑operative Bank, £100 commitment fee).
  • Succession Starter Seminar: free webinar on how to begin succession planning for your creative business or arts organisation. Takes place on Friday 13 September at 12.30pm – REGISTER.
  • Single Explorer Programme: opportunity to apply for six months free membership of the Employee Ownership Association, including access to other members and expertise.
  • Community Shares Support: opportunity to apply for funding and free expertise for organising community buy‑outs (funded by Power to Change).

If you want to take advantage of any of these opportunities, contact Jo Ind, West Midlands Ownership Hub Co-ordinator, at [email protected] 

Discover The Developer Society
A Birmingham-based creative agency that develops software, as well as the skills and careers of its worker owners.
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