Most people picture registering a corporation when thinking about starting a firm. A less known alternative is the cooperative.
A cooperative (“coop”), co-operative (“co-op”), or coöperative (“coöp”) is an autonomous association of persons who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual, social, economic, and cultural benefit.Cooperatives include non-profit community organizations and businesses that are owned and managed by the people who use its services (a consumer cooperative) or by the people who work there (a worker cooperative) or by the people who live there (a housing cooperative). Source: Wikipedia
I’ve found some resources that I’ll be digging into, researching whether or not forming a tech cooperative would be the right way to go for the firm that I would like to start.
- Tech Cooperatives: A Better Way to Make a Living. Here’s a link to the mp3 recording. This talk includes several working professionals from functioning tech cooperatives.
- Samvirke.org (In Norwegian). Resources on running a cooperative within a Norwegian context. There’s a handbook called Vi starter samvirkeforetak. And a fact sheet stating what a cooperative is and the laws that govern it (link).
My mind is still undecided. I like the core idea of being in a cooperative because it offers stability, autonomy and ensures democracy but it will have to be economically viable at the same time. Will definitively research this some more.