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The Co-op Model: Shared Ownership and Social Innovation

Co-operatives are a distinctive and highly successful form of social enterprise.

One or more stakeholder groups (consumers, employees, entrepreneurs, and/or other organizations) jointly own and democratically direct the enterprise to meet their objectives. In Ontario alone, we have more than 1,200 co-operative enterprises and organizations in 400 communities with 15,000 employees.

The Shared Ownership Workshop Series is a joint initiative of Centre for Social Innovation, Enterprise Toronto and On Co-op.

One Workshop = $10. 
All Three Workshops = $25

In this series of three workshops, participants will learn about the distinctive features and values of co-operative enterprises; how these enterprises are structured and incorporated, with a focus on employee-owned co-operatives; and how succession planning can be used to transform an existing business into a co-operative enterprise. Participants will also have opportunity to engage with co-op practitioners and entrepreneurs.


Workshop 1: Could Shared Ownership Be the Right Fit for You?

How Social Innovators Are Using Co-op Enterprises

Date: March 15, 2016
Time: 8:30am - 10:30am
Location: CSI Spadina, 215 Spadina, 4th floor

Co-operatives, one of the earliest forms of social enterprise, have been part of Canadian communities and the economy for more than 100 years. And today’s co-op entrepreneurs are creating new approaches, entering new markets and creating waves like never before.

Participants will learn about the distinctive features, benefits and various types of co-operative enterprises - how they are structured, incorporated, create jobs, provide services and contribute to their communities – as well as engage with successful co-op entrepreneurs.


Workshop 2: Baristas, Clerks & Geeks: Own Your Own Job

How Employees Can Be Co-op Owners and Help Create a Better World

Date: March 29, 2016
Time: 8:30am - 10:30am
Location: CSI Spadina, 215 Spadina, 4th floor

Baristas, telemarketers and clerks with university degrees, student loan debt, minimum wage jobs and precarious employment. Sound familiar? Many people have the knowledge, skills and drive to run their own businesses, and have friends and colleagues with similar interests. If you’d like to start a business with others, employee-owned co-ops may be the answer.

Participants will learn the steps for creating a successful employee-owned co-op and how these shared ownership enterprises have succeeded in creating jobs while contributing to community and environmental solutions.


Workshop 3: Buy Out the Boss

How to Transform an Existing Business into a Successful and Sustainable Co-op

Date: April 12, 2016
Time: 8:30am - 10:30am
Location: CSI Spadina, 215 Spadina, 4th floor

It’s a rewarding challenge to create any business from scratch. Unfortunately, eight out of ten start-up businesses fail. There is another alternative: transforming an existing business to a co-operatively-owned enterprise. As baby-boomer small business owners and entrepreneurs prepare to move into retirement, employee buyouts and community co-ops may be the fast-track to launching a successful social enterprise.

Learn how to assess opportunities and the steps to a successful conversion.