Co-op Week – What are Co-ops?

Written by Kim Oates on October 2011

Every October, businesses across the world celebrate “Co-op Month,” with a special emphasis on “Co-op Week,” which, this year, happens to be this week!


You’ve likely heard the term “co-op” (short for cooperatives), as they become increasingly popular worldwide, but might be unclear on what it really means. There are many types of businesses and organizations that are called co-ops, from grocery stores and preschools to insurance and health care organizations.  Simply put, a co-op is a business owned and controlled by its members, that operates for their mutual benefit.  Worldwide, approximately 1 billion people are members of cooperatives. U.S. residents hold more than 350 million co-op memberships.

According to the International Cooperative Alliance, there are seven principles by which co-ops operate. The principles are grounded in the co-op roots of equality, equity and self-responsibility.  Cooperative members work together to develop their organizations and, ultimately, improve the community.

Co-op month is managed by the National Cooperative Business Association, which represents cooperatives of all types across various industries. Founded in 1916, the NCBA was the first national organization for cooperatives. Co-op month is designed to raise awareness for cooperatives and invite people to approach their day-to-day differently by emphasizing working together.

One of the principles of co-ops is to provide education, training and information for members. BlueVolt recently partnered with the NCBA to learn about members’ needs in continuing education--specifically how online courses can best benefit co-op leadership, employees and volunteers.

BlueVolt is a great way for co-ops to extend learning, stay tuned this week to find out more and check out #coopmonth on Twitter. 



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