Why a co-op?

Why a co-op?

A co-operative is often about people coming together to meet a common need – what need can you serve in your home community that will benefit your people and future generations? Consider starting a co-op!

By establishing a co-operative, you can work with others to produce goods and services within your community, for your community.

What is a coop?

A co-op is a business or non-profit owned by a community of members working together to meet a common need. When someone becomes a member of a co-op, they are an owner of the business.

Looking to help your community achieve self-reliance? Consider building an on-Nation co-op to create jobs and provide much-needed products or services. We can help!

Three Key Features:

All members have the same amount of decisionmaking power  each member gets one vote.
Members receive profits back from the coop based on how much they used the business.
coops are led by a board of directors made up and elected by their members.

How to become a member of a coop

Submit an application to join the co-op.

The application is reviewed and approved by the co-op’s board of directors.

The new member buys a share in the co-op.

Types of coops

Every co-op is member-owned, but who the members are depends on the type of co-op established. When deciding what type of co-op to create, ask yourself “who should make the decisions about this business?” Your answer will help you decide which type of co-op is right for your organization.

There are three main types of co-ops:

Consumer coopsWorker coopsProducer coops
MembershipOwned by those who buy the co-op’s products or services.Owned by the employees of the co-op.Owned by those who make or grow the things the co-op markets and sells.
Key FeaturesCan be for profit or non-profit.Employees themselves create the co-op, either by starting their own business, or buying an existing business from owners who are retiring.Usually created by people from the same industry who share similar challenges and expenses.
In most for-profit consumer co-ops, customers don’t have to be members but only members can share in the profits.Employee owners perform tasks like sales, profit distribution, supervision of non-member staff, marketing, etc. They also make strategic decisions for the co-op.Production work done independently.
In non-profit consumer co-ops (like daycares), you generally have to be a member to use its services.Members save money by purchasing supplies as a group, sharing administrative costs, and collectively marketing their products.
Examples Credit unions, retail businesses (gas stations, grocery stores, etc.), telecommunications companies, childcare, housing, infrastructure services.Consulting agencies, breweries, small retail, manufacturing, media companies.Accountants, artists, farmers, fishers.