Skip to main content
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 (the co-op hasn't yet submitted any financial accounts)
  • 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, and you have submitted financial accounts, 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.