The International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) which represents co-operatives around the world defines a co-operative as: "An autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically controlled enterprise."

Co-operatives operate according to seven basic principles:

  1. Voluntary and Open Membership;
  2. Democratic Member Control;
  3. Member Economic Participation;
  4. Autonomy and Independence;
  5. Education, Training and Information;
  6. Co-operation Among Co-operatives; and
  7. Concern for Community.

Are you thinking of co-op as a business model? Here is a handy Self Assessment Tool

Helpful Websites


Financing Co-ops: Series of Four Videos on Co-op Financing and Securities




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