It's a great time to consider a cooperative model for your business! The United Nations has declared 2012 the International Year of Co-operatives.
What's a co-operative?
- They're owned by the people who use them most: the shoppers at a grocery store, the workers at a construction site, the residents of a building.
- They exist to meet the needs of their member-owners.
- Member-owners make all operating decisions of the co-op, based on a one-member : one-vote structure.
- Profit is given to member-owners based on how often they use the co-op.
- All co-operatives operate according to seven common principles.
Co-operatives are for-profit businesses, but financial benefits are not the only incentives for starting or joining one. They also promote community, education, independence, and social responsibility. The British Columbia Co-operative Association offers a great guide for starting your own BC co-op. It includes a glossary, FAQ, and information about co-operative business plans.
Want to learn more?
- Get to know the history of co-operatives and the Rochdale Pioneers.
- Study the issues that are of interest to co-ops. Do you share their concerns?
- Or, find a co-op near you at the Canadian Co-operative Association.