Why set up a Co-operative?
Co-operatives are a means for people collectively to ‘do it for themselves’, whether responding to a market opportunity, or meeting a need that would not be otherwise met by the private or public sector. They enable members to share the risks and development costs of the business. They also draw from the knowledge, skills and expertise that diverse members bring. Co-operatives are democratically owned and run, giving members real control over the direction of their enterprise and enabling all stakeholders to contribute to the success of the business. They also:
- Keep the business – and the wealth it creates – local.
- Are more sustainable than other forms of small business.
- Contribute to local regeneration.
- Encourage all-round personal development in all their members.
For many people in the UK their perception of ‘the co-op’ will be defined by the local retail stores that they know and visit. But this view of co-operative enterprise in the UK only tells part of the story. There are over 4,000 co-operatives in the UK, creating and sustaining well over 195,000 jobs, with a collective turnover of £27 billion per annum
Ben Reid, Chair of Co-operatives UK and Chief Executive of The Midcounties Co-operative.
What co-operatives are there in Essex?
There are around 50 co-operatives trading in Essex, covering a wide range of activities such as:
- Credit Unions
- Social Clubs
- Sports Clubs
- Child care and Schools
- Community enterprise
- Consumer Retail (Chelmsford Star)
- Country market
There’s a tremendous opportunity for budding entrepreneurs in Essex to join this growing sector.
The co-operative model is a great business structure. It enables members to share resources, ideas, and expertise, as well as maintain democratic control over the enterprise. There is no doubt, too, that co-operatives are at the forefront of innovation, breaking new ground in the provision of everything from ethical goods, local food and green energy to social cars and public services.
Dame Pauline Green, Chief Executive of Co-operatives UK.