A cooperative is a form of institutional innovation within the existing economic market. It is a particular form of social enterprise which encapsulates some of the key principles of the social economy. Cooperatives promote the idea of collective welfare through the advancement of social inclusion, collaborative practices and ultimately cooperating governance structures. Finally, cooperatives have the ability to generate a more equitable distribution of productive enterprise and therefore create more sustainable development. With any type of business, there exist both positives and negatives to co-ops. While they can be complex and expensive to operate and have limited access to capital, they also have many advantages. They have excellent public image, an exceptional size and strength in the marketplace, are only taxed once, are member controlled and unlike non-co-op businesses, they have access to co-op funding programs (Cooperative Development Institute).
In this section you will find links on what a cooperative is and how to get started building one. In addition, you will find resources, materials and examples of successful cooperatives to help answer any questions you may have about the structure, best practices and benefit of cooperatives. If you cannot find something, have a question or an idea regarding co-ops post it on our forum and together we will help the community of co-op members grow.
It has been said that cooperativism is an economic movement that uses education. We can alter that definition, affirming that it is an educational movement that uses economic action.
Jose Maria Arizmendiarrieta, founder of the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation