A co-operative produces goods or provides services. Therefore, it is an enterprise just like the others since it is an economic operator capable of being on the market, but it is unlike other enterprises due to one significant peculiarity: a co-operative focuses on people and not on capital.
This isn’t to say that other forms of enterprise are bad or worse. It simply means that their legitimate primary purpose is to make a profit, while the final goal of a co-operative is to satisfy the needs of its members, whether they are workers, consumers or users. This distinction is so important that co-operation is mentioned in Article 45 of our Constitution, which acknowledges its social function and ethical value. So the co-operative is an enterprise that first and foremost creates value within the society it operates in.


This portal dedicated to promoting new co-operatives is intended to be a container of innovative solutions to meet the contemporary needs of people.
User-owned co-operatives may be created to gain access to a better service at lower prices, while cooperatives of citizens (such as in the case of community-owned co-operatives) and of inhabitants may be created so its members can deal with a matter that is very crucial to living, such as a primary residence. There are different co-operatives to meet different needs, but they all have the common criterion of the individual as the driving force behind all activities.


Then there are worker-owned co-operatives, where people with different professions join together to do business and collectively pursue a project and a proposal for goods or services.
This type of work goes back in time, but is also rooted in today’s world due to the fact that it is streamlined (only 3 people are required for start-up), involves social fairness (it is open to new citizens and attention is paid to equal opportunities related to gender, and other issues) and is sensitive to environment-related issues (as an example of an external mutual society, that is of practices having a positive effect on the region).


Our region, Emilia-Romagna, has been a land of co-operation since the end of the 19th century, and its economic and entrepreneurial fertility are proof that this type of social economy is truly entitled to exist in the third millennium and to continue providing business opportunities for everyone.


Indeed, new co-operatives are not only created by university researchers who join forces after completing their common studies leading to one or more innovative ideas. A new co-operative may also be created based on the experience of workers who do not want to squander their knowledge, know-how, passion and sense of belonging. In the frequent cases when a business closes due to reasons not related to the market, such as inability, tiredness or other decisions made by the owners, the workers may discover that the co-operative form of enterprise is the solution to start up again and jointly deal with the market.