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Frequently Asked Questions About Cooperatives
Cooperatives, business organizations comprised of people joined in a single economic, social or cultural purpose through a jointly-controlled enterprise, are typically owned and operated by individuals. Cooperatives, called co-ops for short, work toward a mutual goal for a mutual benefit, whether that entails the retail, agriculture, shopping, electrical or telephone sectors. Check out the following frequently asked questions about cooperatives:
What Kinds of Cooperatives Are There? Examples of cooperatives include banks, retail shopping centers, student groups, housing and non-profit organizations. Cooperatives can also occur in sectors such as business, industrial, agricultural, land and utility. You also have community, social, consumer and building cooperatives as well, each one working toward a different goal.
What Makes Cooperatives Different From Other Types of Businesses? Cooperatives are different from other businesses in a few unique ways. First, they are owned and controlled by their members, with an internal board of directors. Second, surplus revenues are returned to members based on their use of the cooperative rather than on their ownership share. Third, cooperatives are generally motivated by service for members through high quality goods rather than purely by profit. Finally, cooperatives pay taxes on income within the co-op itself meant for investment.
How Far Back Do Cooperatives Date? Cooperatives go far back in history, as evidenced by tribes and others primitive cooperative structures. In the late 1760s, for example, weavers’ cooperatives were formed in Scotland to provide assistance with savings and loans. Later, industrial cooperatives came about during the Industrial Revolution in the United States. Today, many banks are cooperatives as well.
Cooperatives are business organizations comprised of people coming together for a single economic, social, or cultural purpose through a jointly-controlled enterprise. Owned and operated by individuals, cooperatives meet a mutual goal for a mutual benefit. What are examples of cooperatives? Cooperatives can involve the following sectors: banks, students, retail shopping, housing, business, rural, industrial, agricultural, electrical, land, non-profit, telephone, farms, community, social, consumer, utility, federal, and buying and building cooperatives. Also commonly called coops, such organizations can be non profits, as well as profit organizations. You can find cooperatives by looking in your local phone book or by searching online directory listings. Consider what type of coop you need, such as banking, housing, business, factory, or shopping, and target your search accordingly. Go online to research what a cooperative provider is, what they do, and how cooperative providers can help you or your business. You can also find local listings of cooperatives near you. Do a search for the exact type of organization you're interested in and go from there. Do your research and contact a few different organizations you feel would be a good fit. Keep in mind that cooperatives typically hold board member meetings, or public support meetings. For example, a retailers' cooperative may hold a volunteer board annual meeting of members to go over financials, policies, news, and events. In the banking sector, credit unions are a form of cooperative banking. There are also building societies, insurance organizations, and agricultural organizations. Go online to learn more about a cooperative or company near you and what it provides.