Cooperatives are structured and run in accordance with the cooperative principles:
- Voluntary and open membership;
- Democratic member control;
- Economic participation by members;
- Autonomy and independence;
- Education, training and information;
- Cooperation between cooperatives;
- Concern for community.
The members who own and control the cooperative can be employees, customers, tenants or a combination of these groups. The Midcounties Co-op is known for some interesting ventures, including retail, funeral care and car dealership (www.osg.corp). It is the fourth largest regional consumer coop in the UK, with a turnover of £300 million. In 2002, it launched a new social venture called Imagine Co-operative Childcare (www.imagine.coop) to provide affordable childcare across its trading area. The childcare SE now boasts five nurseries.
Bob Doherty and others (2009) Management for Social Enterprise. Los Angeles: Sage.