Co-operatives can be the key to survival in a competitive world

The Times 7 August 2017

Working for a family-owned business can be infuriating, particularly if the boss installs his woefully unprepared son as managing director. When that happened to Edmund Potter in the late 1960s, he decided to set up on his own and do things differently. In 1971, he launched Delta-T Devices, a maker of scientific instruments, which became a co-operative when it was large enough to qualify in 1980.

Delta-T now has annual revenues of about £4 million, with clients ranging from premier league football clubs buying soil moisture sensors to climate change scientists. All its 32 staff are members of the co-operative and have an equal say on the direction of the company.

According to Chris Nicholl, Delta-T’s chairman: “One of the things that happens to a lot of our sister businesses is they are bought up by an American or Chinese parent company and then the business gets restructured and what happens… 

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