The Co‑operative Bank has announced it will invest an additional £400,000 in The Hive – a support programme for UK co‑operatives, delivered by Co‑operatives UK – backing UK co‑operatives until the end of 2021.
The Hive, which The Co‑operative Bank has invested £1.3 million to date, has helped over 1,000 co‑operatives and groups with support including direct business advice, workshops, training and mentoring.
The announcement was revealed as an exclusive in the Sunday Express this weekend.
In addition to extending access to bespoke business support for new start and existing co‑ops, The Co‑operative Bank’s funding has helped to develop new digital tools for the co‑op sector:
- A step‑by‑step how to start a co‑op tool.
- A digital registration service – a first for the sector, making it easier than ever for co‑ops to register. he Co-operative Bank's support has also helped Co-operatives UK to subsidise registration fees for start-up co-ops. Fees includes the standard fee to register the business with either Companies House or the FCA.
- As part of this process, new‑starts can also access free business banking from The Co‑operative Bank.
Since first launching in 2016, The Hive has:
- Supported over 1,000 groups worth in excess of £600,000.
- Helped more than 80 new co‑operatives to incorporate.
- Delivered 50 free sessions across the UK and online, attended by more than 500 groups wanting to know more about co‑operatives and how to start one.
- Supported 40 groups with community shares offers which have raised more than £6 million to help community‑owned and run businesses.
- The support has impacted more than 20,000 volunteers, members and employees, as well as their wider communities.
The Hive also includes UnFound, a programme for founders looking for a different way to set‑up and run a platform business. It brings together entrepreneurs that would like to develop their digital business in a more collaborative and equitable way.
Nick Slape, Chief Executive Officer, The Co‑operative Bank said:
“As a bank built on co‑operative values and ethics we remain committed to supporting the co‑operative sector, giving like‑minded people, innovators and groups the support they need to succeed when UK businesses face unprecedented challenges during this extremely difficult time. We hope that through our ongoing support of The Hive and partnership with Co‑operatives UK, we can make a real difference to people running or looking to start a co‑operative.”
Rose Marley, Chief Executive, Co‑operatives UK said:
“The pandemic has really made people think about their business and working lives. As more and more people are looking at how they might improve their future working lives for themselves, their families and the communities they are based in, we are delighted that The Co‑operative Bank is supporting new and existing co‑operatives to do just this.”
“Our research demonstrates that co‑operatives are almost twice as likely to survive the early years of business compared to traditional business models, and workers are looking for fairer and more equitable ways to do business and challenge the status quo.”
“Leeds Bread Co‑op is a brilliant example of how The Hive has supported businesses through the pandemic. And with continued support from The Co‑operative Bank, The Hive will continue to create more robust and resilient business that will make a real difference to the communities they are rooted in."