New Cooperative Management and Marketing Programme at Essex

Essex Business School is partnering with Co-Tech to introduce a pioneering placement programme focusing on teaching students “Cooperative Management and Marketing”. Specifically, it will provide students with theoretical and practical knowledge about managing and marketing cooperative and worker-owned businesses. It will offer them the academic knowledge and practical experience to effectively promote consensus and democratic based collective decision-making as well as balancing revenue production with maximizing social impact. It will also explore how collaborative advantage and cooperative networks can be used as sources of enhanced value creation for improving processes, services, and products. The module enables students to undertake a short placement (a minimum of 120 hours) with an external Placement Provider. The student will be required to complete an independent research project which is informed by their placement, and additionally will complete a number of reflective tasks relating to their placement. The student will actively use the links between the knowledge and skills developed in their academic course, and the work-based skills and knowledge developed in carrying out their placement role, to inform a research project based on a specified aspect of their placement work.

We are looking for cooperatives within Co-Tech who would be interested in hosting a student. Activities would involve including them in day to day decision-making within the organisation and engaging them with real life “problem solving” linked to 21st century Cooperative Management and Marketing. Participating cooperative would be working closely with the academics at the University of Essex in order to ensure this a successful and empowering experience for all involved. We will also implement a range of innovative and accessible frameworks for undertaking this placement virtually if necessary.

Please contact the Module Lead Professor Peter Bloom if interested at pbloom@essex.ac.uk

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Is partnering with CoTech, or would like to?

All sounds great to me, but it’s a little unclear if you’ve already engaged with people in the CoTech network to discuss all this or not?

Hi Josef,

Thanks for your response!

We originally discussed and organised this with Kayleigh Walsh from Outlandish and are now looking for other Cooperatives in the network to participate. Happy to send you more information if interested in becoming involved!

Many thanks again.

Best wishes and good health,

Peter

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Hey CoTechers, I am bumping this because Peter is a co-operative ally and using his skills where possible to support our movement. It would be wicked if a couple more co-ops could sign up so that his students get a good experience of problem solving.

Gonna be a rebel and tag some people in this post @chris @Lucy @droom @dajbelshaw @chrisroos @aaron what do yas think?

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Thanks @Kayleigh happy to explore this further with @PBloom. We’d need to know a bit more before committing, but exciting times! :slightly_smiling_face:

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Hi Doug,

Thanks so much for your interest! I would be very happy to discuss this with you and answer any further questions you may have! I am available to meet by phone or through an online meeting platform that works best for you!

Many thanks again and looking forward to speaking soon.

Best wishes and in solidarity,

Peter

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hey @Kayleigh @PBloom

I’m still on leave atm (back Wednesday 1st), but will raise it when I return. It looks really exciting so hopefully we’d be able to be a part of this too. As @dajbelshaw says, I expect we’d need a bit more info before we could commit, but in principle, sounds great.

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My question to @PBloom and others here. Is this offer constrained solely to CoTech or is the university programme relevant to other co-operatives?

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Hey @PBloom thanks for posting!

Interesting…we were talking last week about how lots of the coops lack much in the way of a dedicated business development or sales team, and also generally lack those kinds of skills within the coop. Also, not all, but a lot lack the time/skills/interest/whatever to invest in marketing in a substantial way.

Personally I think there’s a real need to upskill in these areas. I wonder whether some students could create some recommendations. Like, how do other tech companies sell work? How much of their business time is dedicated to sales? What’s most effective - pitches/relationship building/upselling/marketing etc? What kind of clients should we be approaching? What’s the right mix of ethics vs income?

I also think that developing some more centralised sales strategies for the whole of CoTech might be good (though possibly more complex as there’s no one person/central body for decisions to go through).

@PBloom I will forward this thread to some of the SPACE4 coops who I was discussing with last week.

Polly

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Good question… from the initial post it would seem applicable to all worker coops, I would have thought

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Hi @polly. I wasn’t aware of the gaps/issues that you raise here, but now you come to mention it, it does broadly chime in with my experience of working with one or two tech co-ops. I’m not sure about centralised sales strategies, but I do have extensive experience (12 years or more) of the marketing and sales of services within a worker co-op. In my case it was creative services, but I’d say that creative tech services is pretty similar. If CoTech people would finds it of interest/potential value, I’m thinking maybe we could do an occasional call to bring together marketing/sales focussed people from CoTech co-ops together, for fun and profit?

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Hey @PBloom, what time period does the 120 hours cover? Is there an expected amount of hours per week?

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I think there’s enough interest here for @PBloom to arrange a session to talk to multiple co-ops, instead of each one individually? :slight_smile:

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Hi Doug and everyone,

Thank you so much for your interest as well as excellent comments and questions! I think it would be great to organise a meeting for us all to meet and discuss this possibility together. To answer some of your initial queries:

  1. We are open to involving any cooperative who would like to participate.
  2. The 120 hours can be organised and managed according to what works best for the student and the cooperative
  3. We are happy to work together with the participating cooperatives to identify some key areas of investigation for students to research with them.
  4. At the end of the module, I will collecting and sharing all the insights from this research with the participating cooperatives and the Co-Tech Network.

Would be people be open to meeting together at noon on Friday? If so I am happy to arrange it!

Many thanks again and I look forward to speaking to everyone soon.

Best wishes and in solidarity,

Peter

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Friday at noon suits me. Will you set up a Zoom or whatnot?

Polly

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Hi All,

I am happy to set up a Zoom meeting now for Friday at noon. If you would like to join can you please email me at pbloom @essex.ac.uk. That way I can ensure that I do not accidently leave anybody out.

Many thanks again for your interest! I look forward to speaking on Friday.

Best wishes and good health,

Peter

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I can’t make that time, sadly, but have asked internally to see if someone else can… they will post here to get the invite.

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Thanks Peter, have emailed :+1:

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Hi all,
Just following on form Aaron’s last comment, I’d be interested in attending (with an Agile Collective hat on)
I’ll drop you an email now, Peter.
Thanks,
Richard

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Hello,

This sounds interesting, and we would be interesting in finding out more. I’m going to try my best to attend (I have a tender deadline) however my colleague Alan will attend the call regardless.

We are in the same town as Essex University being in Colchester.

Ben

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