Co-operative Futures is a business development consultancy specialising in co-operative, mutual and community led businesses. Founded in 2000 it was set up to provide direct advice and support services and to engage in debates to find mutual solutions for challenges being faced by communities.

So whether you are starting out with an idea, looking to grow and develop your business or want to know about more about community ownership and co-operative business models we can help you.

Working with start-ups and existing companies we advise a variety of enterprises in a wide range of sectors including retail, leisure, community asset transfer, renewable energy, care and many more.

There are many names bandied around for the types of organisation we work with but it boils down to three things: that there is trading activity, they have a social purpose and there is some form of collective ownership. If you think that might be you please get in touch.

Co-operative Futures is an approved provider for the following schemes. For more information, please contact us.


USE IT! is an exciting and innovative 3-year programme, launched in early 2017, to create a new ‘place-based’ network of social enterprises and community businesses who use local assets to tackle poverty and social isolation in their local neighbourhoods across West Birmingham and Sandwell. MORE–>

The Going the Extra Mile (GEM) Project aims to engage with and support individuals in Gloucestershire who are currently dealing with circumstances that are potentially causing barriers to work and move these people closer towards education, training, volunteering or work, including self-employment. MORE–>


Midcounties Co-operative provides support to co-operatives and community groups in their trading area.

Community shares can save local shops and pubs, finance renewable energy schemes, transform community facilities, support local food growing, fund new football clubs, restore heritage buildings, and above all, build stronger, more vibrant, and independent communities.

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The Hive, a business support programme for co-ops and community businesses. The Hive offers online support, group advice, skills training sessions, one-to-one advice, peer mentoring.


What we do

Starting up

Starting up

Looking at your business model, the viability of the business and what you need to get going.



How to make sure your legal structure is the right one and making sure you are doing the right things for your members.

Community shares

Community shares

Support to write a share offer document that will enable you to raise capital investment from your community or members.



Looking at how much it costs to run your business, what you should charge to make the right amount of profit and how to understand your accounts.



Identifying who your customers are, what they want to buy, how much they will pay and how to tell them about yourselves.

Business Plans

Business Plans

We help to write one that covers all the important areas. It can be one that is just for use internally or one that is needed to raise finance.

Blog Posts

The Community Business Market in 2018 – top five things you need to know

Original post from the Power to Change blog – published here.

Power to Change’s Community Business Market report for 2018 launched today. The report is based on an improved research method involving a survey of 300 respondents and analysis of secondary data. The report contains vital information about the size, scope and structure of the market and the amazing work community businesses do. Below is a short list of the top things you need to know about community business in England:

  1. The community business market is substantial

There are an estimated 7,800 community businesses operating in England. The 2017 estimate of 6,600 is considered to be an under-estimation. In 2018 the estimated total market income is  £1.05 billion, with total assets worth £0.75 billion –  broadly in line with last year. These businesses are estimated to employ 33,600 paid staff and involve 125,200 volunteers. The largest grouping of businesses is venues, comprising community hubs and village halls and making up 34% of all businesses in the market.

  1. Community businesses are confident

The confidence of the community business sector continues to grow. In 2018 nearly two-thirds (66%) of community business representatives responding to the survey were confident about the business’ financial prospects for the year ahead, up from 63% in 2017 and 47% in 2016.

  1. Community businesses are having a positive social impact

Community businesses told us that they are most likely to have an impact on reducing isolation in their community (84%) and increasing community cohesion (83%). This is central to the ethos of community businesses – that they are supportive of local people and exist to make a tangible, positive difference to peoples’ lives.

  1. Community businesses are innovative

Community businesses are optimistic that in the next 12 months their trading income will increase (75%) compared to grant funding (48%). The report finds that that community businesses intend to increase their trading opportunities by expanding or diversifying their current offer.

  1. Community businesses need support

The report finds that support from local government is considered by community businesses to be the most valued among other external sources. In addition, support around digital marketing strategies to engage supporters and service users is also invaluable for some.

See the full report for more details.


Future Co-ops 2019


1st to 3rd February in Birmingham

Not everywhere is created equal. There are some well-known pockets of success in the UK where co-ops flourish – big cities, small towns, north and south. But there are plenty of co-op deserts too.

We’re all agreed we want more co-ops, better co-ops and, sometimes, bigger co-ops. Particularly in co-op deserts. But no fairy godmother’s going to wave a magic wand, so what do we, as a diverse sector, do with what we’ve got



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Meet the Team


Co-operative Futures is part of a workers co-op – The People Co-op, a network of ethical, sustainable businesses here in the UK with a focus on the business to business service companies.

Our head office is at: City Works, Alfred Street, Gloucester. GL1 4DF

You can call us on: 01452 543030

Find us on Facebook HERE

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