Wortley Hall 2017/Starting a Tech Coop

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This is one of the pages on this wiki which came out of the Wortley Hall 2017
Co-operative Technologists Second Annual Gathering at Wortley Hall, 27-29 November 2017.

Introduction

This page relates to individuals and groups that have gone through a journey or process of formation as described in the Co-op Learning section, and feel they are nearly ready to launch their coop.

Starting a coop from scratch can be a daunting process, especially if you think that doing it means you need be ready-equipped with a good working knowledge of accountancy and finance, marketing, training, legal compliance, formal incorporation and so on. In fact, a coop is simply a group of people working together towards collective goals, under cooperative values and principles. Everything else follows.

Three development needs analysis documents

The following three documents are 'development needs analysis' templates for (respectively) startup/pre-startup coop groups, established coops/groups and worker buyout groups. They were developed and are copyright of Co-operative Assistance Network (CAN), who shared them with co-op developers working under the Hub coop support programme, which ran from 2011-2014.

Although designed for the use of professional coop developers to assess the needs of groups to whom they have been referred, they have been found useful for group self-diagnosis. They may appear as mountainous checklists that, if you read them when you were first thinking of starting a coop, might put you off for good. But looked at another way, they are simply a way of breaking down the task into manageable chunks, and prioritising areas to work on. The Startups version focuses, rightly, on the composition, skills and shared purpose of the founding group, their actual knowledge of coops and their actual desire to cooperate. Each question in the anaylsis offers four scoring levels, for identifying areas for further work, advice or support. Perhaps these could be de-fanged and turned round, made into something a bit more user-friendly.