Bigger Co-operative Web

Software developers Co-operative Web are expecting significant growth in their 10th year in business and a large loan from Co-operative & Community Finance is helping to ease the growing pains.

The Birmingham-based workers’ co-operative builds systems, web applications and content-managed solutions across a range of technical platforms. It works with many different types of business from small social enterprises to large multi-nationals.

It was set up in 2006 by four former employees of the IT department of Midcounties Co-operative. Now there are 27 employees. Four were taken on in December, and more are being recruited.

Chief executive Ed Russell said: “We are incredibly busy. We keep winning big contracts, which is nice but it plays havoc with our cash flow.”

Much of Co-operative Web’s work goes on in the background helping to make large organisations and complex processes function effortlessly. The co-operative rarely gets (and doesn’t expect) public recognition (“Basically, we’re geeks for hire,” Ed Russell says). But one of its recent projects, the innovative charity fund raising website was featured in The Guardian and elsewhere.

Ian Rothwell of Co-operative & Community Finance said: “Co-operative Web is an excellent example of how skilled technical people work better in a co-operative environment. The workers are happy and so are the customers, and we are happy to support them.”