ACRE Scotland

An Investment Coop for people interested in investing in Rural Community Businesses

About ACRE Scotland

Community groups across Scotland are trying to set up businesses to provide local jobs, provide local services and make their communities viable and good places to live.

There are grants to help with some aspects of setting up community businesses, but these are often difficult to get and usually don’t meet the full costs of getting established.  Bank loans are very expensive and the usual investors aren’t interested in community businesses. 

Examples of projects include:
·            expanding a community shop,
·     setting up a community fuelwood scheme,
·     setting up community tourist facilities
·     setting up a community-based mushroom processing business

What you can do

Many people have some savings that they want to invest ethically.  Ethical investment can be (with honourable exceptions) a minefield of confusing and sometimes misleading information.

ACRE Scotland is an Investment Coop, in which members pool their money and decide, together, where to invest it    By investing directly in community projects, you also have a stake in helping Scotland’s rural communities become better places to live and work, bringing renewed life to the countryside. 

And, depending on the terms and risks involved, your investment can increase in value  (although, of course, the value of investments can always go down as well as up).

What is an Investment Coop

An ethical Investment Coop takes ethical investment a stage further, by giving its members complete control of where their money is being invested.  Not only will your money not be invested in damaging companies, but it will be invested in businesses that benefit communities and the environment in Scotland.

An Investment Coop is formed by a group of people who want to invest money together.  All members put in an agreed amount of money.  There’s no upper limit although it’s best if members invest roughly similar amounts. 

The members are involved in all decisions.  Each member has one vote and, where decisions can’t be reached by consensus, they are usually* decided by a simple majority.
(*Some decisions, eg. changing the Rules, require a ¾ majority.)

Because there are many members, money can be invested in different projects - spreading the risk in case one fails.

An Investment Coop doesn’t donate money - it makes investments, which give a return as any investment or savings account would.  The members can decide to accept a lower rate of return for their investment, to help the project plough more money into the community.

All Investment Coops have formal constitutions, so that all members know their rights and obligations.

What else do you need to know?

The idea of setting up an Investment Coop comes from research into the best ways to invest ethically and to help rural community businesses get the capital investment they need.  As a focussed, democratic and open organisation, an Investment Coop seems the best way to achieve this. 

If you’re interested in being part of this new Investment Coop, you’ll need to have at least £500 to invest, immediately or within 6 months.