In the 1960s, a group of people led by their main promotor, Jaime Méndez Quiroga, had the idea of creating a company in Bolivia based on the cooperative model by combining the efforts of several people and institutions from all strata of society and the economy in the country.
The shortage of cement in the Cochabamba region was one of the greatest problems faced in the area: “this decision provided an excellent demonstration of the fact that the cooperative approach can even be effective in an industrial sector”.
A meeting was held on 4 December 1966 to establish COBOCE, the Bolivian Cement Cooperative, whose aim was to use the cooperative system in order to industrialise the country through the promotion of production cooperatives in which those who profit from them play a part, as well as the objectives achieved thanks to the efforts undertaken by the Bolivians themselves.
When this factory opened it gave a significant boost to the economy in the Cochabamba region and, as a result of its geographical location, it made the region a hub for the development of the national economy. The cooperative had an initial capital of $1, 667.
Today, some 50 years after its creation, it has become the largest industrial cooperative in Bolivia and groups together one of the largest cement works in the country and several other production units which operate mainly in the construction sector: Coboce Ceramics (flooring and glazed ceramic tiles), Coboce Ceramil (red tiles), Coboce Metal (metallurgy), Coboce Concrete (Ready Mixed Concrete), Coboce Constructions (construction of housing and general civil engineering works carried out with materials manufactured solely by the COBOCE group) and the senior editor of Opinión (a national periodical magazine which has been established to promote the spread of the cooperative model).
COBOCE is also the majority shareholder in two companies: the Community Bank for SMEs and the Constructora Cochabamba, both of which participate actively in the efforts made to develop the country on the basis of the cooperative model. “The Bolivian Cement, Industry and Services Cooperative COBOCE is proof of the fact that desire, work and values can transform dreams into reality”, says members of the cooperative.
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