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Recent visitors to Suma

Submitted by on March 8, 2012 – 8:07 amNo Comment

We’ve had a busy time hosting visitors at Suma in recent weeks. Some very interesting people have come to see us. We always love to show them around because we’re very proud of Suma.

Cooperative Ownership Solutions are a specialist (co-operative) consultancy converting small private businesses into employee owned businesses. Norman Watson, a COS partner, helped the miners buy Tower Colliery in 1994. Britain’s first, and so far only, worker owned coal mine.

COS Ltd. want to bring business owners to look at Suma to prove employee ownership works. Some are reluctant to sell to their employees when they retire and many viable small businesses and jobs are being lost every year as a result.

Leeds University sent a coach party of first year students (pictured) from the School of Earth and Environment. Their tutor, Dr Yim Ling Siu , said
“Field trips are a wonderful educational experience. They create lasting memories for the students and provide hands-on learning opportunities.”

The students asked many difficult questions and learned how we try to be a more sustainable and environment friendly business in real life. One point, which they had not known, is that Suma, by promoting vegetarian foods since 1975, has saved the production of lots of meat – grain fed animals being a major cause of food shortages, climate gas production and environmental damage.

Bradford University School of Management brought students from their MSc Human Resource Management course. These experienced HR managers were astonished to discover how Suma has rewritten standard HR and business organisation concepts. We had to. They don’t fit a democratic business. Our Bob Cannell, who is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (the HR professional association), enjoyed giving them the worker co-op point of view.

We welcomed back colleagues from Traffic Systems Co-operative Ltd. (www.trafficsystems.co.uk) who last visited us several years ago. TSC are rather like Suma, a long standing worker cooperative successfully competing in a largely privately owned industry.
Being engineers, they prefer a more formal management system and they elect their chief executive. Suma members prefer not to have a single chief exec. We share the job out. It works, so why not?
TSC install and maintain traffic lights across the UK. Your next red light might be cooperative.

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