The Co-operative Bank and Co-operatives UK network have pushed the button on a £1 million three-year partnership to support the development and growth of Britain’s co-operative and social enterprise sector.
The new programme, which is set to launch early in the new year, aims to boost a “co-operative economy” which is already worth some £37 billion to the British economy.
Over the next three years, the programme will support the development of the existing nearly-7,000 independent co-operative businesses across the UK alongside helping new co-ops and community businesses starting up.
Online business advice and guidance, one-to-one support, peer mentoring and group training sessions, covering key issues such as registration, membership development, and co-operative finance, will be offered.
Niall Booker, chief executive of the Co-operative Bank, said: “Co-operatives and community businesses have an important role to play in the UK economy and society as a whole, and it is important that the growth and development of the sector is supported.
“Earlier this year we underpinned our commitment to supporting co-operatives in UK by writing this into the bank’s ethical policy. This partnership brings this commitment to life.”
Ed Mayo, secretary general at Co-operatives UK, added: “With everything from football clubs to farmer controlled businesses, the co-operative sector is diverse and thriving. This partnership promises to give it a further boost.
“There has never been a better time to start or grow a co-operative.”