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Supporting fair and ethical business in partnership with The Co-operative Bank

Business Support – start your co-op: Application guidance


Start a co-op is a business support programme for people wanting to launch their own co-op. To be eligible for this programme you must fall into one of the following categories:

  • A group of (at least two) people aiming to register a co-op in the UK within 12 months

  • An existing co-op that incorporated in the UK less than 18 months ago and/or has not started trading yet

  • An existing organisation aiming to convert to a co-op in the next 12 months, that has been incorporated for less than 18 months and/or has not started trading

If you have started trading or have been incorporated for more than 18 months this programme is not for you. Instead, you can contact Co-operatives UK’s Advice Team for support or apply for the following programmes:

Before you start

Before you start your application, we recommend you read this application guidance carefully. It includes information about: 

  • The application process and how we assess your application 

  • The documents and information you need to gather before you apply 

  • A preview of all the questions you will be asked in the form.  

We advise you to prepare as much as possible in advance. You can download a copy of this guidance as a pdf file by clicking on 'download pdf' button on the side menu. 

Commitment fee

If you are awarded the support package, you will be asked to contribute a £100 commitment fee (inclusive of VAT) or £75 for Co-operatives UK members. The fee has proven to be the best approach to ensure the support is allocated to teams that are truly committed to participating in the programme. Co-operatives UK reinvests the funds into future support provision. If the fee is a barrier to your participation in the programme, please let us know in your application and we will consider waiving the fee.