The transformation of companies into cooperatives is an option which is not always taken into account as part of corporate restructuring in crisis or in businesses without heirs. The global economic crisis has demonstrated the success of this entrepreneurial leap towards a more democratic and more sustainable employments. Examples of successful buyouts in crisis by their workers are numerous.
Several guidelines have been recently published for all those interested in joining the cooperative movement, especially in the UK, Spain and France. The Spanish Confederation of Worker Cooperatives (COCETA) and, in France, the General Confederation of Scop (CGScop) have published very practical guides, which describe the most important steps to take and which are aimed at future developers. Each confederation has given its national touch (legislation, financing, business environment, etc.), but both pursue the same objective: to publicize and promote the cooperative option.
The guide published by COCETA offers very practical information, including several tables that allow new cooperatives to establish a diagnosis in relation to the starting point found where the new entity should work more cooperatively and thoroughly to ensure its success. Both, CGSCOP as COCETA include a list of tools on which these companies can find support, such as entities or public and private institutions, which specialize in providing assistance in such situations. COCETA’s guide also includes a list of public grants and technical assistance from which entrepreneurs can benefit.
For its part, Co-operatives UK has recently launched a guide to promote the cooperative movement in the creative industries, namely to ensure that these professionals (who are often self-employed) work together. The document gives the necessary keys and indicates the way for the creation of a cooperative. Co-operatives UK also released in 2008 a generic guide for establishing cooperatives.
To access these guides you can refer to:
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