We can help you to quickly set up your co-operative, develop your business idea and become a sustainable and growing business.
Your business idea doesn’t need to be original, but you have to offer something new. You may be filling a gap in the market, responding to market failure or creating alternative solutions to specific issues.
What support is available?
Successful applicants will be offered a bespoke package of up to 10 days support including some or all of the following:
Up to six days direct one‐to‐one support with a co‐operative development adviser
Up to six days direct one-to-one support is on offer. The Hive has a network of expert co-operative development advisers who are contracted to deliver direct one-to-one advice based on the needs identified in a group or co-operative's application. The one-to-one support involves some face-to-face time, but contact will also be via phone/video calls or email. We do not intend that it will all be face-to-face.
*These are indicative outputs and will vary with each group. The exact outputs will be agreed with you if your application for support is successful.
Skills training delivered in‐house
One in‐house training session is on offer, to be delivered to your board or management committee. This will be determined by the support needs identified in your application as well as further dialogue with The Hive team.
The focus of the training session will be flexible but is likely to address areas relating to governance (new director / board training, how to manage conflict), membership or understanding your co-op's finances.
Peer mentoring from an experienced co-operative
Up to three days mentoring is on offer where a group or co-operative is matched with another, more established and experienced co‐operative. The content of support is agreed between you and your peer mentor.
The mentoring will likely take place in a range of ways, from face‑to‑face meetings (one-to-one or group), phone/video calls or email. Mentor co-operatives need to be a Co-operatives UK member.
Who can apply?
The Hive support is open to groups in the process of starting a co-operative, newly incorporated co-ops and in the early days of trading.
We welcome strong applications from all sectors and from all regions of the UK. Below outlines specific criteria and objectives that we are looking to achieve and that will make your application for support even stronger.
Your co-operative is or will be based in the UK.
Your co-operative is or will be a trading and sustainable business.
Co‑operatives from key sectors
The Hive welcomes strong applications from all sectors. However, we are particularly interested in applications from the following:
Co‑operatives offering something new
Co‑operatives from key regions/nations and demographics
The Hive welcomes strong applications from across the UK. However, we are particularly interested in applications from the following regions:
We are also interested in supporting co-ops which serve or benefit under-represented communities such as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities or young people.
The Hive is open to applications all year round with applications reviewed at monthly panel assessment meetings. We aim to notify applicants of the outcome within two weeks of a monthly panel meeting, which means that the maximum amount of time an applicant will have to wait for a decision following submission is eight weeks.
How to apply?
Are you ready to apply to The Hive? If you've read through the 'Who can apply' information and you think your group or co-operative is eligible, you should read through our application guidance before starting your application.
FREE workshops: Is a co-operative right for you?
Not sure if a co-operative is the right path for you? The Hive runs FREE half-day workshops, taking place across the UK, for groups looking to start a co‑operative or anyone wanting to learn more.
To date over 300 groups have attended these sessions, many going onto plan and start their own co-operative enterprises.
View dates and locations >
Hear from some of the groups and co‑operatives who have received support through The Hive. Watch and read case studies…