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Cooperative Development Services - Building Cooperatives

Business Plan

The incorporation process gives the Cooperative its legal identity that allows the right to raise funds and apply for specific funding and programs.

The Cooperative business is similar to a regular business conducted by a sole proprietor, corporation or other formula to run the business, so the Cooperative conducts a business plan to determinate exactly the amount of investment it is going to explore, market available, competitor and its business environment by the study of the internal and external challenges.

The business plan is a document providing a complete description of the proposed co-op enterprise. The plan must include financial projections, marketing opportunities and other pertinent information about the venture. It must also address all issues relevant to the project.

Once the plan has been approved by the steering committee, the Cooperatives' leaders present the business plan to the potential membership. The information is required to enable them to decide if they are willing to risk investing equity in the new business.

After securing the members' support, present the plan to the individuals or organizations, especially potential stakeholders such as lenders, suppliers and customers from whom the co-op is seeking financial or other support. So, it is valuable and important that the business plan explains:

  • why they should invest in the business you're proposing
  • the seriousness of the Cooperative enterprise
  • the team's ability to launch and develop it successfully and to repay any financial assistance
  • the governance and management skills for such business

The business plan is needed for both the Cooperative project and for the founders:

  • The founder would like to see in the business plan: the history of the Cooperative; reputation and credibility of managers; the kind of project; the financial capacity for the Cooperative; the feasibility of the project; the risk and the assets available; the quality and the consistency of the documents
  • For the Cooperative the business plan gives an overview on: the kind and details of the project; the commitment of the group; the feasibility of the project; the kind of concluded and potential partners; the benefit into the community and the financial plan

After completing the business plan and the management tools to work with, a meeting with the members is important to have more commitment, recruit more members into the Cooperative and review the business with the potential members.

  • Understanding the business plan, its assumptions and demonstrating that the project should be successful is key to giving members enough information and confidence that they will be willing to supply the necessary equity, attracting competent management and securing lenders and other creditors necessary to operate the business successfully
  • The business plan should be studied by the potential members
  • Members should demonstrate their willingness to proceed with developing the project by providing the required capital, as set out in the business plan, to attract the other stakeholders into the project
  • Before embarking on a campaign to secure capital from members, you must ensure that the appropriate approvals have been received from The Registrar of Cooperatives for an Offering Statement (PDF) or The Securities Commission for an Initial Purchase Offering
  • If the decision is made to proceed with the venture, the key areas to address are the organizational structure management, and implementation of the business plan

When the management type is defined and the business plan has been accomplished it is time to hold a meeting with the large members to support the business plan and raise fund through recruitment of new members who will have the right to vote during the Cooperative meeting.

Contact Us:

Cooperative Development Services
Manitoba Growth, Enterprise and Trade
250 - 240 Graham Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0J7

Phone: 204-724-2616
Fax: 204-948-1558
Toll-free: 1-866-479-6155

Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World

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