What is a co-operative?

A co-operative is a proper business.

It is worth stating again.

A co-operative is a proper business established to make profits, like any other business.

In launching the3rdi magazine as a co-operative I have been surprised at the ignorance and misunderstanding that surrounds the co-operative business model.

So while I generally dislike defining things in terms of what they are not, it is worth dispelling a few myths.



  • co-operative are not charities
  • co-operatives are not social enterprises
  • are not just supermarkets or undertakers
  • are not all spinach and sandals
  • are not formed only when other business models have failed

From the outside a co-operative looks like any other business.

It is what’s on the inside that makes the difference!

Co-operatives are OWNED by their members and exist to serve their members.

The members are the owners, each having an equal say in how the business operates.

As well as getting the products and services they need members help shape the decisions that the co-operative takes.

Co-operatives aim to trade profitably – they make profits!

Co-operatives share the profits amongst their members rather than rewarding outside investors.

Co-operatives are not beholden to anybody, whether that is governments, investors or another business.

Co-operatives collaborate with each other and have a commitment to the community they serve.

Across the UK co-operatives are owned by 11 MILLION PEOPLE – and this number is growing!

There are 4,800 independent co-operatives working in all parts of the economy – from healthcare to wind farms, from football clubs to web design companies.

So I hope that it is now clear why we chose this model for the3rdi magazine limited.

  • the3rdi magazine limited is a co-operative, member owned business
  • it exists to serve the community of women
  • we collaborate with women across all sectors of the business community
  • we are beholden to no-one; content being drawn from the community
  • we are independent, inspiring and informative
  • membership is the lifeblood: you OWN the business. We rely on your support to develop the programmes to support women leaders, promote issues of women’s confidence and self-esteem and develop positive networking within the community
  • we believe that everyone who is involved in the co-operative should have a real say in how the business develops and the co-operative business model ensures that everyone has an equal say
  • we believe that the business has to trade profitably in order to survive in the long term and that these profits should not go to anonymous investors but should be shared amongst the members.

So now you know!

The3rdi Magazine Limited is an independent co-operative business that I am proud to have founded and that welcomes you as a member.


You might also be interested in reading ‘After the Crash‘, a report written by Andrew Bibby, commissioned by The Co-operative Group which highlights some successful co-operative solutions.

You may also want to learn more about the support available to new and existing co-operatives and co-operators.

1 Comment on What is a co-operative?

  1. Co-operative business is a bone fide business model and possibly the single most democratic model around. The more members, the more benefits, The more benefits, the more impact. This is a fantastic opportunity to own a business and to make a difference. I urge you all to join and get involved.

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