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27 November 2017

Harvey Maps finds route to success

Map publisher plots transition to employee ownership

Leading map publisher Harvey Map Services Limited has announced it is the latest business in Scotland to adopt an employee ownership model, with ten staff given the opportunity to become owners.

Harvey Maps was founded 40 years ago by Robin Harvey MBE and Susan Harvey MBE to provide a professional mapmaking service for the sport of orienteering.  Based in a historical building in Doune, Perthshire, it is one of a very small number of companies in the UK to generate its own map data.  It has become a market leader in maps for outdoor pursuits such as hill walking and mountain marathons.

Commenting on the decision to become employee-owned, co-founder Susan Harvey said: “In due course we will want to retire. However, having formed and developed the business into a market leading company over the past 40 years, we didn’t want to sell to a competitor and see our life’s work absorbed into another company.  It was also important to us to retain the jobs in Doune.

“We wanted a succession solution which gave the company, the jobs and the brand a good chance of continued independent existence following our retirement; employee ownership ticked all of our boxes.”

An Employee Ownership Trust has been formed and will hold 90% of the shares on behalf of the employees.  Susan Harvey is the only other shareholder with 10% ownership.

Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), the arm of Scottish Enterprise which promotes collaborative business models, guided and supported Harvey Maps’ transition to employee ownership, providing advice on the implementation of the new ownership structure.

Susan Harvey continued:  “The whole process has been a leap into the unknown and we could not have done it without support.  We spent quite a bit of time working with specialist advisors from Scottish Enterprise and Co-operative Development Scotland, undertaking briefings with the staff to help them understand the concept of employee ownership. 

“It’s been an extremely busy and challenging time for the business with the transition to employee ownership, our 40th anniversary and impending Christmas promotions. However, the future is bright and the involvement of all employees in the ownership of the business will be a major boost going forward. 

“I am confident that once things settle down, employee ownership will be great for the staff, the brand and the company.”

CDS director Sarah Deas added:  “Harvey Maps is a successful business and the owners wanted to ensure that continued after their retirement.  It was also important to them that the ethos of the company was preserved and that the employment was retained in Doune; employee ownership is the perfect solution for that.

“By becoming employee-owned, the company is safeguarding highly-skilled jobs and keeping specialist skills alive.  Employee ownership is a succession option that should be explored by businesses of all sizes and sectors.”

The latest figures show that there are 86 employee-owned companies operating in Scotland, with approximately 6,800 employee-owners generating a combined turnover of around £925million.   

Statistics consistently demonstrate that employee-owned businesses outperform their non EO counterparts in terms of higher levels of profitability; improved business resilience during times of recession; increased productivity brought about by higher levels of engagement and enhanced employee wellbeing.

Sarah Deas concluded:  “By promoting employee ownership, we are driving growth in Scotland’s economy and creating greater wealth equality in our society.”



For further information, commentary or photography, please contact the CDS team at Smarts Communicate on 0141 222 2040 / 07970834354 or email


About CDS

Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS) is the arm of Scottish Enterprise working in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise that supports company growth through collaborative and employee ownership business models.

An employee-owned business is one in which the employees hold the majority of the shares either directly or through an employee benefit trust. Selling to employees allows owners to manage their exit and achieve fair value while safeguarding the long term future of the company. Employee ownership gives employees a meaningful stake in their organisation together with a genuine say in how it is run. It roots business in Scotland, drives performance and delivers economic wellbeing.

For further information on CDS see or call on 0141 951 3055. Follow CDS on Twitter @cdscotland or look at the blog


Contact information

Sarah Cross
0141 228 2308
07947 334588

Scottish Enterprise is Scotland's main economic development agency and aims to deliver a significant, lasting effect on the Scottish economy. Our role is to help identify and exploit the best opportunities for economic growth. We support ambitious Scottish companies to compete within the global marketplace and help build Scotland's globally competitive sectors. We also work with a range of partners in the public and private sectors to attract new investment to Scotland and to help create a world-class business environment.

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