The following details a lecture that CETS delivered as part of its knowledge exchange project (supported by Co-operative Development Scotland).

Module delivery: This session was delivered as part of the a postgraduate business qualification at the University of the West of Scotland.

Topic: Co-operatives and Capital

Duration: Including a Q&A session, the lecture was one hour in duration.

Relevance to module: This lecture built on previous sessions looking at financing options for small-and-medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

Content: The lecture assumed no previous knowledge of co-operatives. Firstly, a brief thought exercise was conducted; it is designed to get students thinking about the relationship between capital and labour in a business. Depending on questions, this exercise usually lasts between 10-15 minutes. See The Meaning of Ownership folder at

The context is set by looking at the co-operative model of enterprise in general before dealing with the topic at hand. This includes a discussion of core co-operative characteristics such as values and principles, ownership, governance, and surplus. The lecture then proceeds by communicating key co-operative statistics, both global and the UK; this section concludes  by looking at some of the benefits of co-operatives in terms of economic and social factors (for example, productivity and wealth inequality). The introduction to co-operatives is concluded by examining a particular type of co-operative: worker-owned businesses.

The uses of co-operatives are then discussed, followed by the main elements to consider when setting up a co-operative. The specific capital requirements of these types of enterprises are then discussed, in particular the role of shares in a co-operative and the attitude of banks. The lecture concludes by covering a number of relevant case studies, as well as ways in which students/graduates can get involved in co-operatives.

The lecture slides are provided below:

Co-operatives and Capital

Additional resources:

Co-operative Entrepreneurship – an ebook and VLE aimed at students/graduates containing information on how to set up a co-operative enterprise

Simply Finance – an online resource by the UK’s trade body for co-operatives

Co-operative and Community Finance – a significant source of funding for co-ops in the UK