Glasgow (Scotland) pioneered the idea of community business – setting up companies which aim to employ people rather than provide profits. The first community business was set up in 1984. More followed providing a range of basic services – shops, decorating, arts – and within seven years there were 45 community businesses in the region. By then Strathclyde Community Business (SCB) had amassed a development fund of £1.5 million.
The guidance of the local priest in Mondragon (Spain) led to five local entrepreneurs turning their stove-making business into an employee-owned co-op. They also set up a local bank, which oversaw the expansion of a series of other linked co-ops in the town. Now the group consists of around 120 businesses, employing 22,000 local people. Only a handful have ever failed. When the Basque region unemployment rose to 30% in the 1980s, Mondragon's employment was maintained.