Start.COOP - a participatory tool for launching a cooperative

Start.COOP has been developed as a low-cost, easy to use training tool for those interested in starting and launching a cooperative in a participatory and efficient manner. It draws on technical content from existing materials in different ILO cooperative training tools and peer-to-peer, activity based learning methodology from the ILO’s Community-Based Enterprise Development (C-BED) programme.

Module 1 will help you in identifying the right people to join in the formation of the cooperative. You will then learn how to identify opportunities for collective action through an analysis of the common problems or opportunities faced by the group. At the end of this module, it is expected that you would have defined a business idea.

In Module 2 you will learn how to assess whether your business idea is feasible by doing a feasibility study. A feasibility study involves the gathering and analysing of information to find out if the business idea is good or not. The study will help you determine if the proposed business idea is something that you can implement based on resources you can access and whether you can be competitive in the market. It will also help you to further explore whether the proposed business will address the common problem faced by the potential owner-members.

In Module 3 you will work on the preparation of a basic business plan aimed at providing guidance on how to run the business during the early stages of its operation. At the end of this module, it is expected that you will have the draft outline of your business plan.

In module 4 you will learn how the cooperative should be structured and governed to effectively implement your business plan. You will further define the organizational chart that you have made in the management plan section of your business plan. You will also draft the rules and regulations necessary to ensure good management of the affairs of the cooperative and its members.