One of the 7 principles upon which cooperatives are based on is cooperation: Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures. At the same time, one of the biggest difficulties for them is to be in contact with one another. Many organisations already exist at the international level but they take more institutional actions and none of them connect cooperatives together. With globalisation, and in times of crisis, the need for many cooperatives to reach out to the international network of enterprises, which CICOPA represents, is high on the agenda.
As a direct result of this, CICOPA has decided to launch a platform for its members. Indeed, Coospace will be exclusively dedicated to CICOPA and CECOP’s direct or indirect members (cooperative confederation, federations, enterprises, support organisations etc.). It will work as a social media website organized by sector of activities or by region. Its users will run their own profile and will be able to post requests of any kind: a French construction cooperative wishing to learn about an international public works tender in Germany may want to find construction cooperatives in Italy, Germany and Poland in order to establish a temporary consortium and apply for the tender. A Spanish metal industry cooperative may have an interest in making a product in Brazil with a cooperative from Sao Paulo operating in the same sector. A Japanese tour operator cooperative could be willing to contact some of the many tourism cooperatives in Europe to organise tours to Europe. The possibilities are endless.
“Through my contacts with cooperative organisations around the world and cooperatives at the ground level. Over the years the difficulty of linking cooperatives one with another has been called to my attention, inside a given region and further afield, all around the world. Coopspace will provide cooperatives with an essential tool to be in contact and to make entrepreneurial exchanges between them” said CICOPA Secretary General, Bruno Roelants.
With 65.000 cooperatives in industry and services within the CICOPA network around the world, the website has great potential to serve users and could become a very high performance tool to efficiently serve those enterprises. For the moment, the website is being tested by several cooperative enterprises of the CICOPA network. It will be launched in autumn this year.
International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and
Service Producers' Cooperatives
Secretariat: C/O European Cooperative House - avenue Milcamps 105
1030 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 543 1033, fax: +32 2 543 1037