Co-operative Enterprise Research Unit (CERU)

The Co-operative Enterprise Research Unit (CERU) is a focal point for research, education and outreach activities focusing on the co-operative and mutual enterprise sector. CERU is a multi-disciplinary unit with skills that encompass the business, economic and social aspects of these unique enterprises. Our global research network offers a broad range of skills and expertise. 


Our purpose

CERU was established to enhance the field of research into co-operative and mutual enterprises. We also aim to make a significant contribution from that research to education, policy and practice in the sector.


The origins of CERU can be traced back to 2010 when UWA commenced an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Grant project with industry partners Co-operatives WA, Co-operative Bulk Handling (CBH) Group, Capricorn Society Ltd and Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-operative. This project was focused on understanding the nature of the co-operative enterprise busines model, and how this model could be sustained over time. The project completed in 2014. Further information on the Co-operative Enterprise Research Program can be found here>>>

Today CERU is engaged in a number of research and education projects focused on understanding the co-operative and mutual enterprise business model; its structure, operations, competitiveness and sustainability. More information on our projects can be found here read more >>>

Research Team

CERU draws together a strong, multi-disciplinary team of researchers from around the world. For more information on the members of CERU please go to the following link read more>>>


CERU has produced a number of research publications including books, journal articles, and conference and discussion papers. It also offers access to a range of publications not readily available via other channels. For more information on our research database and publications please go to the following link read more>>>

Co-operative Enterprise Network

CERU seeks to provide a gateway to co-operative and mutual enterprises (CME) and research centres globally. There are already a number of groups with whom we are collaborating and others with whom we are seeking to collaborate. More information on these groups can be found via the following link read more>>>

Executive Leadership Program for Co-operatives and Mutuals

CERU has joined with the Australian Institute of Management of Western Australia (AIM WA), UWA Business School Executive Education alliance to design, develop and deliver a leading-edge executive education program specifically targeted at the Directors and Executive Managers of co-operative and mutual enterprises. This program has been successfully delivered since 2014 for Australian and international CMEs across a wide-range of industries read more>>>

General Information about Co-operative and Mutual Enterprises (CMEs)

CERU aims to promote a better understanding of the nature and contribution of co-operative and mutual enterprises. The following sections provide an overview of the CME sector.

CMEs are found across all continents and virtually all industry sectors, comprising some of the largest businesses in the world read more>>>

CMEs are a unique kind of business that is highly democratic in its governance and focused on the benefit of its members who are also its customers, suppliers and owners read more>>>

Australia has a large and vibrant CME sector that comprises firms from a wide range of industries read more>>>