The start-up journey

This section gives an overview of the journey you can expect to take when starting a co-operative

There are many ways to start a co-operative (or indeed any enterprise) and the typical start-up journey is explored in more detail below.

Key features of a co-operative that make that start-up journey slightly different

  1. Co-operatives are collaborative enterprises and as such the start-up will work best as a collaborative design and planning process. The initial business idea might well be the product of one mind, but if it is going to ultimately be owned and controlled by more people, then the earlier they get involved, the more ownership they feel.
  2. The involvement of more people will allow you to share the workload. Starting any business is no small undertaking.
  3. Part of the co-operative advantage is that key-stakeholders have control in the enterprise. Where they are involved in the planning, you can be sure that you are creating services, products and a business model that works for them – a distinct marketing advantage.

A typical start-up journey would follow the path below, but every co-operative is different and it may work to swap the order of things or run elements in parallel.

The key thing is to not put the cart before the horse – for example you shouldn't create your structure before you know your business model and particularly who will be the members of your co-operative.


The above infographic has been reproduced with permission from, and originally created by, Mark Simmonds for Transition Enterprise Handbook on behalf of the Transition Network.

Updated: 15/02/2017