Sky’s the limit as investment deals highlight huge potential for employee-owned firms

Douglas Roberts, Partner in the Corporate team at legal firm Lindsays

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Lindsays lawyers works with specialist investors Capital for Colleagues to support investments of over £3.5m to fuel expansion plans of Scottish space businesses

INVESTMENT deals totalling more than £3.5m in two Scottish space technology enterprises show the significant support that employee-owned (EO) companies can unlock, experts say.

Capital for Colleagues (C4C), a specialist provider of advice and financing for firms owned by their staff, recently agreed packages with two businesses, supported by lawyers from Scottish legal firm Lindsays.

In the space of just 11 days C4C, with Lindsays’ advice:

  • Converted its A share investment into ordinary shares valued at £1.75m in Bright Ascension, a Dundee-based space software technology provider. This was alongside a £1m injection from other investors. Bright Ascension offers unique off-the-shelf software products and solutions for use on spacecraft and on the ground. The investment will back expansion plans.
  • Invested £800,000 in Craft Prospect Ltd, a Glasgow-based space engineering business which develops enabling quantum and AI-based products and mission applications for the small satellite market.  That deal will allow the firm to recruit additional staff as well as develop new products and services.

Douglas Roberts, a Partner in the Corporate department at Lindsays who leads the firm’s Employee Ownership team, believes the deals demonstrate that EO companies can secure substantial investments, with specialist support.

He said: “It is brilliant to see more businesses in Scotland move towards employee ownership with C4C playing a key role – and it was a privilege for us to act for C4C to deliver these investments in quick succession.

“Funding is often an issue for employee owned businesses due to the focus on employees, something which C4C both understands and encourages.

“These deals are an important reminder that specialist support is out there for EO companies and to unlock financial support. 

“As the number of EO businesses in Scotland continues to grow, arrangements like this will become increasingly important. We look forward to working with C4C in the future.”

Mr Roberts has previously advised Capital for Colleagues on two other investments in Scotland. He has also helped more than 15 companies with the legal aspects of transitioning to employee ownership over the last four years. 

Capital for Colleagues Chief Executive Alistair Currie said: “It was great to work with Douglas Roberts again in completing the transactions in Bright Ascension and Craft Prospect.

“Scotland has become a heartland for employee ownership in the UK and our investments in Bright Ascension and Craft Prospect show that there are some great employee-owned businesses in Scotland.”

There are currently just over 100 employee-owned companies in Scotland – with the Scottish Government targeting 500 by 2030. Up to 30 firms are forecast to make the switch this year – twice as many as did so during 2020.

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