Getting started

This section gives you an overview of co-ops and the steps needed to start a co-op business or community organisation, so it's also useful for any groups looking to start a co-op or anyone wanting to learn more about co-ops.

We running FREE 'Is a co-operative right for you?' workshops across the UK. If you are booked onto a session, we advise that you read through as much of the content as possible as it will mean you will get the most out of the day.

Content guide | Is a co-operative right for you?

Co-operatives and the co-operative movement

The start-up journey

Further resources and downloads

If you have any questions, there will be plenty of opportunity to discuss these on the day. Or, why not join The Hive's online community, which has a discussion page set-up for this purpose:


About the sessions

If you have found these pages but are not booked onto one of our FREE 'Is a co-op right for you?' sessions, then find out below who they're for and when they take place.

Who the session is for

The sessions are for anyone interested in learning more about co-operatives, particularly enterprises and start-ups, as well as business advisers, researchers, community organisers and others who want to explore the co-operative option. The session will be particularly suited to those actively considering business support for their co-op start-up.

What will the day be about?

An interactive exploration of the history and application of the co-operative enterprise model; the many different types there are and their distinctive features and advantages relative to other models.

It will:

  • Outline the opportunities that a co-operative business model offers community groups and businesses.
  • Explore the history and scope of the co-operative sector, both nationally and globally.
  • Help groups already looking to start a business or organisation to determine whether the co-operative option is right for them.
  • Help groups identify what further work is needed to do before you are able to register as a co-operative.

What attendees will learn?

  • The wide range of different types of co-operative and the sectors they operate in
  • The advantages and distinctive features of the co-operative model and how it could work for them or their clients
  • The factors that determine the most appropriate co-operative model for a given enterprise and what might be the appropriate model(s) for them or their clients
  • The typical developmental journey of a start-up co-operative, where they or their clients are on that journey and what they need to do next to progress further
  • The support available to co-operative start-ups and conversions

In addition to the FREE sessions, attendees will be encouraged to use The Hive website – a unique online resource for anyone looking to start or grow a co-operative business.

The Hive is a business support programme for co-operatives run by Co-operatives UK in partnership with The Co-operative Bank.

Updated: 30/07/2019