Single worker cooperative?

Is it possible for a “single worker cooperative” to be part of the CoTech network and collaborate with others?

What criteria would need to be met?

Good question, I guess first of all you would need to have formed a co-op, have you seen the legal guide here?

Or perhaps there might be an existing co-op you could join?

The “joining a co-op” route feels neat, with more collateral benefit at first glance. For example, onboarding people with that interest feels like a neat thing to exercise for the network – perhaps a front desk for prospective co-operators, not just prospective clients :slight_smile:

@orbifx Is the situation that this person is not totally sold on co-ops being right for them, but wants to participate in the network? Or that they’re interested in concept and growing into it, but haven’t found fellow co-operators yet? Or something else?

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Patcon, I haven’t found or nees any collaborators yet, but would like to participate in the cooperative ‘federation’ as a company.

Of course if the company needed to grow it would be with the coop ethos.

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Ah thanks – wasn’t sure if you were asking for yourself or someone else. I’m new here, and just a fan from Canada, so I’ll let someone else step in :slight_smile: Nice to meet you!

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From chapter 7 in simply-legal:

Although it is possible to incorporate a company with a single member, usually co-operatives and community owned enterprises have at least two members.

Also from

There are many types of co-op that are eligible for membership of Co-operative Technologists including worker co-operatives, freelancer co-ops and various types of consortium co-ops. We can share our various models with you and you can pick one you like and adapt it to your needs.

Finally, on the same page:

If you would like to start a tech co-op then we’d love to help you.

And it does mention to use this forum for this.


Are you based in the UK? Whereabouts?

What’s the business model for your single member coop?

And what are you imagining when you say participate in the federation? At the moment participation of the coops is mostly:
a) making decisions on loomio and in the general call
b) contributing to the fund
c) attending the semi-annual gathering and taking tasks forward from there

There’s also coops that partner on projects together.

I can see how b) and c) can be done fairly straightforwardly by a single member coop. a) makes me slightly uneasy because it complicates the model a little bit. At the moment the assumption is that everyone on the call, or on loomio, is representing a coop that’s larger than themselves. I’m not inherently opposed to the idea, but it’s a change.


A few months ago there was a discussion on Loomio about a company made up of one member who wanted to join CoTech, based on that one way forward for @orbifx would be to legally constitute your company as a co-op, join Co-operatives UK and then apply for CoTech membership.

There is clearly however an underlying issue here, that could do with being addressed, some people are understandable of the view that a co-op needs to be more than one person due to the nature of co-operation (perhaps a more stark example would be wanting to be married as an individual without having a partner to get married to?) and some people are of the view that a way forward would be for CoTech itself to be a co-operative that could accept individuals as members.

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Are direct messages disabled?

And what are you imagining when you say participate in the federation?

Collaborating & partnering on available projects. One more company working on Coop ethics and part of the network.

CoTech itself being a cooperative makes sense to me.

I understand that for most people a cooperative has more than one people. But looking at were I’m coming from, I see that what also matters is how a company or person behaves in the overall economy and the ethics the company is run by. As you said, legally constituting it as a coop should be enough.

Thanks for the answer @chris, I have a path ahead. I’m currently developing an open-source mail server with a twist; as soon as I have a good milestone on this, I will look at the next steps mentioned.


You need to be at trust level 1 to send direct messages, this isn’t a setting that we have changed from the Discourse default, to reach trust level 1 you have to have:

  • Opened 5 threads
  • Read 30 posts
  • Spent 10 minutes reading posts

Again these the the Discourse defaults.

To orbifx : it seems like a lot of developers are talking on here about interesting things they’re working on, but sometimes co-operative people (I am one) get side-tracked into, basically, “legalistic” discussions. I suggest it’s because the UK legal system is anti-co-operation by default, (i.e. it’s Not our fault ! Good to see you’ve clearly done some very relevant background reading on co-ops by the way)

But also I think dev work needs talking about, it’s got to be teamwork but getting a team together can be tricky.
Especially online.

You said you’re “currently developing an open-source mail server with a twist” that sounds like it could be interesting to a lot of people on this forum, some of them might even be able to co-operate on it, if you wish.

At best, an existing co-op might even offer you the opportunity to join them to work on it, again, if you wish.

The best next step might be to list here:

  • A quick outline of your skills/interests
  • A quick description of the problem/solution re the mail server proposed … ? (Even a one-line summary)

Hope this is helpful, cheers
Webarchitects (Sheffield)

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some people are of the view that a way forward would be for CoTech itself to be a co-operative that could accept individuals as members.

Or maybe to understand itself as a hybrid coop-freelancer network, with gentle pressure toward cooperativism? :slight_smile:

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I like & work with functional programming (OCaml), computation hardware, embedded development, amongst other things. i’m weary of writing much on a page globally searchable and cached by search engines.

  • A quick description of the problem/solution re the mail server proposed … ? (Even a one-line summary)

I’m modernising the features offered by the mail environment. Adding a “social networking” dimension and making it easy and simple to deploy are my current areas of focus.

I’d like to see cooperative alternatives to social networking and other services currently dominated by few corps.

Anyone interested please send me a private message (I’m informed I’ve gained the required trust level :laughing:). Happy to discuss in a smaller group with anyone interested.

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