Business advice, support and training for new and existing co-operatives and social enterprises in Leicester, Leicestershire and the East Midlands. Assistance with business planning, choosing the right legal structure and registering your business.
Making music at Soft Touch Co-operative in Leicester
Open, voluntary membership – co-operatives are open to all people who are willing to accept the responsibilities of membership without gender, social, political or religious discrimination.
Democratic member control – co-operatives are democratic, controlled by members who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. Any elected representatives are accountable to the membership.
Economic participation – members can decide on the use of surplus of the co-operative – e.g. developing the co-operative, setting up reserves, benefiting members by a bonus in relation to wages, or supporting other activities approved by the membership.
Independence – if co-operatives enter into agreements with other organisations, or raise capital from external sources, they try to do so on terms that ensure their continued democratic control.
Education and training – co-operatives make sure that their members, managers, elected representatives and employees are well trained so that they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives.
Co-operation among co-operatives – many co-operatives like to trade with or work in partnership with other co-ops through local networks, and their regional, national and international structures that make up the co-operative movement.
Community – whilst co-ops focus on their members, many co-operatives maintain a role in their community through policies chosen by members.