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Today as colleges teach the normal business model, which is that in the capitalist model Capital hires Labor – people become just another input (e.g. ‘Human Resources’) so the whole purpose of business becomes the generation of return on investment for the people who provide the capital – the investors.

In a co-operative, such as ourselves, Labor hires Capital – capital becomes merely another resource that the business requires to produce its services or products. The aims of a co-op business are to produce excellent goods and services, to provide good terms and conditions for employees, to be fair to suppliers, to provide limited* returns on investment for investors, to support local communities and to respect the environment. 

*Unlike a capitalist business, where the more successful the business is, the higher the return for investors, a successful co-operative sets limits on interest and instead ploughs profits back in the business and pays dividend payments to members.

We need to wake up to the fact that the current business model – as exemplified in TV programs like Dragons Den and The Apprentice – is not the only way of doing business. Many people in alternative circles are wary of the word ‘business’ assuming that it implies the current model with its emphasis on profits at all costs and its denial of any responsibility for the social or environmental impact of its operations. We believe we need to reclaim the word ‘business’ and demonstrate that business can be run for the benefit of all – a co-operative business model.

 So the co-operative model is an alternative business model to the current one – a business model which responds to the needs of all stakeholders; employees, customers, suppliers, the local community, the environment and future generations, as well as investors. It fits well with your collaborative economic model.

In short, a co-op can be defined as "a jointly owned enterprise engaging in the production or distribution of goods or the supplying of services, operated by its members for their mutual benefit, typically organized by consumers. Co-operative businesses are typically more economically resilient than many other forms of enterprise, with twice the number of co-operatives (80%) surviving their first five years compared with other business ownership models (41%). Co-operatives frequently have social goals which they aim to accomplish by investing a proportion of trading profits back into their communities. As an example of this, in 2013,retail co-operativesin theUKinvested 6.9% of their pre-tax profits in the communities in which they trade as compared with 2.4% for other rivalsupermarkets.

Cooperative Principles are the seven guidelines by which Co-ops put their values into practice, often called the seven Rockdale Principles:

1.   Voluntary and open membership

2.   Democratic member control

3.   Economic participation by members

4.   Autonomy and independence

5.   Education, training and information

6.   Cooperation among cooperatives

7.   Concern for community

Cooperatives Values, in the tradition of its founders, are based on "self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity." Co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

Please help bring a change back into the United States business world by supporting us and our goals to provide good services to you and a good work environment to our members.

Thank You