Many successful businesses working independently do not recognise the increased opportunities that exist when working in collaboration with others.

The members of the Scottish Mountain Bike Consortium saw the advantages and jumped at the chance to team up to provide an improved end-to-end service to customers and increase their own business opportunities at the same time.

In 2011, the Scottish Enterprise Planning to Succeed Mountain Bike Group formed from a group of business, all with involvement in the mountain biking sector across Tayside, Fife, Perthshire and Stirlingshire.

The members immediately set about developing ways of working together to increase the range and quality of mountain bike experiences in their areas.

All of the businesses involved in the project were successful in their own right, and all had ambitions to develop further, but the challenge to each individual business was in creating opportunities as a single company working independently.

Each member saw the potential to create more exciting and potentially lucrative opportunities working as part of a wider group.

The Scottish Enterprise Rural Operations Team manage the Planning to Succeed programme for tourism businesses. A group was formed to look at opportunities for mountain biking within the Tayside, Fife, Perthshire and Stirlingshire area, both on an individual basis but also to explore opportunities for greater success through collaboration.

The 12 members of the group represent a range of industry operators, including training/coaching, landowners, bike retailers, trail designers, accommodation providers and signage designers.

A facilitator employed by Scottish Enterprise has supported the group in working together towards common goals and enjoying the successes of joint working.

Each year, development of a 12-month action plan enables the group to understand each other's strengths and gain trust in working together on projects. This planning delivers a structured approach which has enabled the development of packaged mountain biking solutions as well as addressing general business issues.

The group's ambition is to provide end-to-end packages, specifically designed for a family audience, which benefit customers by providing accommodation, coaching and access to trails in a single package.

The group quickly identified their overall aim - which was for the area to become the best UK destination for family mountain bike experiences and, in early 2013, they took this aim forward to develop packaged mountain biking solutions which included key delivery skills such as event management, coaching facilities, development, leadership, marketing and promotion.

Assisted by Co-operative Development Scotland, the group has now formed a co-operative known as the Scottish Mountain Bike Consortium.

Tom Durham, chairman of the consortium says: "The biggest change was the level of trust the members built up in each other through the process of working together. We joined the group as individual companies but through the support of our facilitator we were soon working towards a common goal that will benefit us all."

Jacqueline Green, project manager at Scottish Enterprise, said: "Each member of the group knew they wanted to grow their business and by bringing them together we have been able to provide a forum for turning ideas into actions for delivery."

A whole range of new collaborative working opportunities have opened by forming the consortium as part of the Planning to Succeed programme. Through this forum, new ideas are flourishing.

They have also recently won the Co-operative Development Scotland Collaboration Award 2013.

Durham said: "Winning the Collaboration Prize will be instrumental in our ability to get the wheels in motion for our consortium. We want to make mountain biking the ultimate family-friendly adventure activity."