Co-operatives are a way for people to collectively ‘do it for themselves’ – whether that’s responding to a market opportunity, or meeting an identified need that neither the market nor the public purse provides. They engage people in their own solutions and enable members to share the risks and development costs of the business. They also draw the knowledge, skills and expertise that diverse members bring.
They link members together so that they can help one another – perhaps by sharing ideas, costs, resources and equipment.
Co-operatives are democratically owned and run, giving members real control over the direction of their enterprise and allowing them to contribute to the success of the business. In worker co-operatives this can galvanise the creativity and commitment of the employees in a way many other businesses cannot.
Co-operatives are more sustainable than other forms of small business – survival rates are higher and they create more jobs which are less likely to leave the local area when the business is successful.
Co-operatives support all-round personal development, including encouraging entrepreneurial and business skills in all their members.