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What is a cooperative?

Cooperatives are businesses owned and managed by and for their members. Whether the members are the customers or employees, they all have an equal say in what the business does and they share in the profits.

There are different types of cooperatives: from consumer and producer to worker co-ops, and you can find them in all sectors: agriculture, banking, housing, technology, food, childcare, etc. Despite these differences, all co-ops are built on the same 7 principles:

  1. Voluntary and Open Membership
  2. Democratic Member Control
  3. Members' Economic Participation
  4. Autonomy and Independence
  5. Education, Training and Information
  6. Cooperation amoung Cooperatives
  7. Concern for Community

Take a look at website of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) to find out more about cooperatives.

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