|Title||Co-operatives and social enterprise: are they a replacement for mainstream capitalism?|
|Publication Type||Web Article|
|Year of Publication||2012|
|Keywords||Co-operatives, profit, social enterprise|
A co-operative or mutual business exists for its members and their economic and social benefit. If it is to be independent of government or charity, and not dependent on philanthropy or volunteer labour, the co-operative enterprise must generate a profit. This will allow it to pay its employees and invest in the assets and systems that will allow its members to meet their common needs. The co-operative is therefore not a charity and cannot survive for long if it does not make a profit as a sound and resilient business. For this reason it should not be viewed as a ‘not-for-profit’ business. However, the co-operative differs from the mainstream investor owned business through its focus on delivering economic and social benefits to its members.