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At this stage in the process the co-operative often needs to open a bank account, submit funding applications etc. As a result they will need to adopt a more formal structure and register some sort of legal form around the co-operative. There are many different choices of legal form that are used by co-operatives and all of the key questions we have addressed in the previous pages will have an influence on the decision.
Many organisations become stuck at this point due to its complicated nature but don’t be downhearted; there are many people out there who can help. There’s little point in you becoming an expert on legal forms when you’re only doing this once, so take professional advice. This advice is often subsidised or even free for co-operative businesses.
What is the most appropriate structure for the co-operative?
Where’s the start-up money coming from?
Where’s the income going to come from?
How are you going to run the co-operative?
What are you going to do with any profit?
How do people join and leave the co-operative?
Answers to the above will allow you to decide:
What are our options for the legal form for your co-operative?
What is the most appropriate legal form for your co-operative?