The Co-op Hackathon

Co-operatives UK is on a mission to promote digital innovation in the co-op movement – it’s a major part of our current strategy. So we’re launching a series of activities to amplify and foster collaboration around the development of technology that empowers co-ops. One of these is the Co-op Hackathon on 11-12 May in London.

What is the Co-op Hackathon?

It’s an exciting, trailblazing event that will bring together tech co-operators to collaboratively develop digital solutions to support the UK co-op movement. We’ll be focusing on three themes:

  • How can we increase the campaigning power of the co-op movement on issues that matter?
  • How can we use data to strengthen the co-op movement and make it more resilient in the face of a rapidly changing business environment?
  • How can we use technology to increase collaboration between co-ops?

The Co-op Hackathon is a partnership between Co-operatives UK and The Co-operative Bank, supporting fair and ethical business together.

When and where is the Co-op Hackathon?

11-12 May, The Foundry, 17 Oval Way, London, SE11 5RR

  • Thursday 11 May
    • 6-8pm: Pre-hackathon meet and greet. Teams who have submitted an idea will be asked to present it to the audience, followed by the chance to meet and chat with other teams
  • Friday 12 May
    • 9am-5pm: Teams will spend the day developing their ideas. They’ll also work towards a presentation to give at the end of the day
    • 6-8pm: Teams will present their work and explain what their next steps will be.

Want to be part of the Co-op Hackathon?

There are a few different ways to get involved:

  • Got an idea you want to develop? Do you have a solution for these challenges? Would you like to collaborate on developing it? Then join us! This will be an opportunity for you to build a team around your idea, develop it further and test your assumptions. Whatever stage it’s at – from concept to developed and tested idea – we are eager to hear from you. You’ll need a clear, defined idea that you can pitch in an accessible way to an audience. Got one? Register for FREE.
  • Don’t have an idea but have skills to offer? Are you passionate about building digital solutions that have an impact? Do you have skills and knowledge you can bring to a team? Then join us and get involved in one of the ideas being developed. Digital skills are particularly welcome: developers, data scientists, designers, project managers, etc. But it’s not a pre-requisite as there are many ways to support a team. Register for FREE, whatever your skills and expertise.
  • Don’t want to take part but want to see the results? If you don’t want to actively participate in the Hackathon but are keen to see the solutions the teams are building, you can attend the launch event on the evening of Thursday 11 May and/or the presentations at the end of the Hackday on Friday 12 May. Register here to attend the presentations.

What happens afterwards?

Co-op Tech Awards ceremony…

Radical solutions aren’t built in a day, so we’ll be holding a Co‑op Tech Awards ceremony at Co‑op Congress in June to celebrate the best ideas.

Teams will be shortlisted from those who submit ​a slide deck by 31 May. An expert panel will evaluate the proposals before the event. A £10,000 prize will be awarded at Co-op Congress after the teams’ live pitches.

Beyond the prize itself, the aim of the awards event is to showcase innovative solutions and galvanise interest in building and investing in them. The Hackathon is just one step towards creating a radical digital transformation of the co‑op movement.

These events are made possible thanks to the support of The Co‑operative Bank who will also be providing the funding for the prizes.


Hi all! We’d love to see the Co-Tech community take part in this event. As you are all probably aware, it is part of Co-operatives UK’s strategy to “enable tech and digital” in the co-op movement. For now, the scope of the strategy is quite broad, but we’re hoping that this event can be a good opportunity to bring together coops working in tech, digital teams from other co-ops and broadly people interested in the overlaps between tech and the co-op movement. We see this as a first step in a longer process of digital transformation of the movement and how it can have a broader impact on society. Feel free to get in touch at if you have any questions, or just comment here and I’ll try to monitor the thread in the coming weeks. Hope some of you can make it. Would be lovely to see old faces as well as connect with new ones. Please share widely in your co-ops and beyond!

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I’m interested to learn more about the strategy to enable tech and digital in the co-op movement. Is there a link or doc that sets that out somewhere? How can people engage in that strategy and the development of it?

Hi Graham, you can find more info here in Co-operatives UK’s strategy document here (pag7):

The strategy was defined about a year ago and was largely led by Rose Marley. For now, we have been mainly continuing the work developed under UnFound on platform co-ops, but we are starting to look at other areas of this strategic theme too. Recently I’ve started to summarise the areas we want to work in into these three areas:

  • What can the co-op movement provide solutions to how digital is transforming business models (our work on platform co-ops fits into this)

  • How can digital and tech help grow, strengthen and make the co-op movement more resilient (the Hackathon fits into this strand)

  • How can the co-op movement contribute more broadly to conversations around ethics in tech, including policy (an area both I and Rose are eager to develop, but have not started doing work on it)

The pace of this work is quite slow at the moment due to staff capacity, but we’re looking at ways to involve our members and the broader movement as much as possible. The Hackathon is a first step in that direction: we see it as a way to showcase what is already going on in the movement as well as bring together for a day the various actors. We’re very conscious that a one-day hackathon and an award fund of £10k won’t take us far, but we hope it can be a starting point for Co-operatives UK to start working more closely with people and co-ops interested in this strategic theme.

Hope this clarifies. If there is any specific thing you’d like to discuss around the strategy do email me at and happy to set up a call.

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I’m not one of the organisers, just passing on.


Thanks James for sharing! I’ve added it now as an event to the forum.

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