IT MAY not be boldly going where no company has gone before, but Bright Ascension, the Scottish space technology firm, has perhaps taken the biggest leap in its five and a half year history.

The company, which provides software products and services for satellites, has unveiled plans to move into employee ownership.

It comes after talks with Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS) suggested the move could help the firm unlock investment to drive its continuing software development. Bright Ascension is specifically looking to woo investors that specialise in backing employee-owned ventures, and has already secured an initial £250,000 investment from the Capital for Colleagues vehicle.

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Bright Ascension is in the process of setting up an Employee Benefit Trust, into which an initial 20 per cent of the company’s equity will be placed. Shares in the company are being gifted to its nine employees by the current owners, which has come at the same time as the Capital for Colleagues investment.

Bright Ascension technical director Mark McCrum, who linked up with founder Peter Mendham a year after it started, said discussions with CDS began in 2013. He said: “As well as the need for investment we were interested in employee ownership because it seems like the fairest way to structure the ownership of a company.

“In order to build a world class company we need to attract, retain, motivate and harness the best talent in the field and adopting an employee ownership model allows us to do that.”