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Events and networking
If you're looking to grow your co-operative, the best thing you can do is meet up with other people who have already grown theirs. Whether you want to increase your turnover, open a new branch, or just work more efficiently, there's a co-operative like yours that has already done it and can tell you the pitfalls to avoid.
2012 is the United Nations' International Year of Cooperatives, and the culminating event is Co-operatives United. Thousands of people from around the world will be visiting Manchester for a packed programme of national and international conferences, fun and inspiring workshops, new films and exhibitions.
To take advantage of this increased focus on co-operatives and co-operation, Co-operatives UK's two flagship events will be taking place under the Co-operatives United banner.
- Co-operative Practitioners Forum
The Co-operative Practitioners Forum is the event for professionals working in the co-operative sector. Launched last year as the Atumn Forum, it allows accountants, finance officers, secretaries and HR / personnel staff share new ways of working, ideas and best practice examples of how they are helping their co-operatives to grow and succeed.
- Co-operative Congress
Co-operators across the UK have been coming together at Congress since 1869. From the largest consumer retail society to the smallest village shop, there is no better place for co-operatives to network, learn and grow.
The National Retail Consumer Conference
This annual event is a well-established forum for those involved in the consumer co-operative sector. Whether they are members that own the business or managers that run it, this is a must-attend event which will enable delegates to understand the challenges facing co-operative retailers and how the co-operative way of business can bring about innovative opportunities and solutions. For more information, visit www.uk.coop/nrcc.
You can also find other useful events on our UK co-operative events listing.
One of the main competitive advantages of being a co-operative should be Principle 6 of our Values and Principles "Co-operation between co-operatives".
Principle Six events were first developed by Sion Whellens of Calverts and Principle Six LLP. It is a methodology and meeting format for face-to-face, high energy, results-oriented business referral networking. They have been run as stand alone events, part of Co-operatives UK conferences and by Regional Co-operative Councils.
The format is adapted from standard referral techniques developed over many years, and it's been shown to work for all kinds, from sole traders to representatives of large multinational companies, by matching 'asks' to 'referrals'. A referral is an introduction (or pledge to make an introduction) by the 'referrer' to a third party who, known to them, is or may be in the market for the products or services provided by the 'asker'. Visit our Principle Six webpage to find out more.
Regions and Nations
There are co-operative networks throughout the UK, working with Co-operatives UK to provide help, advice and support at the local level. Many run events that might be useful to you as a growing co-operative - visit our regions and nations listing to find your local Regional Co-operative Council.