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.

ERDF + UIA USE-IT!

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-sq

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.

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What we do

Starting up

Starting up

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

Governance

Governance

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.

Finance

Finance

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.

Marketing

Marketing

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

Confidence in Business at a 40-Year Low

CREDIT: Blog taken from Coops UK, August 2018

With an uncertain Brexit around the corner, consumer confidence in business has fallen to a dramatic low. New survey data released today (Thursday 23 August) reveals that just over one third of people (36%) believe that most companies in the UK are fair to consumers,1 down from 44% in 2000 and 61% in 1983 in previous offline research.2

Read More

Co-operative Enterprise in Birmingham

CREDIT – blog taken from Birmingham and Solihull Social Economy Consortium, written by Alun Severn – original post can be found here.

Co-operatives — which are owned and controlled by their members — represent a particular sub-set within the broader social economy. Co-operatives operate in all  sectors of the economy but the co-op model is especially suited to any kind of mutual, membership-based enterprise where shared services or shared ownership offer important ways to ensure greater fairness and a better deal for members, employees and users alike.

The national membership body for the sector Co-operatives UK, has just published excellent data for the sector in 2018, which shows that the co-op sector in the UK is alive and well, with 7,226 independent co-operative enterprises, and a combined turnover of £36.1 billion –- up more than £800m on 2017 levels. The sector is also a significant employer, with almost 235,000 people earning their livelihoods directly through co-operatives.

This should be welcome news to anyone who feels a commitment to co-operative values.

In Birmingham there are around 90 co-ops, most of which are fairly small. But this shouldn’t be taken as meaning that the number of co-operators in Birmingham is small — nothing could be further from the truth. Because co-operative enterprise in Birmingham includes three of the giant retail co-operative societies — Central England Co-operativeMidcounties Co-operative, and the Co-operative Group. While the the Co-operative Group is nationally the largest co-operative society, most of Central England Co-operative’s stores, members and workers are in Birmingham.

Birmingham also has the large Citysave Credit Union . Credit unions are essentially saving co-ops and a number of important Birmingham employers — including Birmingham City Council, the NHS, Aston University, Birmingham Settlement and Legal & General — trust Citysave to provide safe and protected savings and ethical, fair priced loans for their employees.

In total, there are over 49,000 co-op members in Birmingham and the city’s co-ops have a combined turnover of over £23m, and manage members’ funds worth almost £50m.

Co-operative success stories include renewable energy (Community Energy BirminghamPower For Good, and Chase Community Solar); the growth of co-operative housing in both Redditch and Wales; and local worker co-ops such as LOAF and Birmingham Bike Foundry. Recent months have also seen The Phone Co-op, the only ethical and mutually owned telecoms provider, cement its twenty year growth by merging with Midcounties Co-operative.

Co-ops in the city are supporting the Birmingham Social Enterprise City initiative and we want to ensure that the co-op sector of the social economy has a better profile and is more widely understood as we move forward with Social Enterprise City plans. To this end we’ll be bringing you more co-op news, so stay tuned.

Find out more about co-operatives

If you want to find out more about what co-operatives are doing in 2018 take a look at Co-operatives UK, the national representative body for co-operative enterprise, Co-operatives West Midlands, the co-op representative body for the region, or The Hive website and online forum for co-operators.

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Meet the Team

About

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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