Workshop – Business Models for Co-operative Higher Education

Beyond Public and Private: A model for co-operative higher education.

Funded by the Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF).

Workshop: Business Models for Co-operative Higher Education

Venue: Croft Street Community Centre, Lincoln, LN2 5AX.

Date: Friday 20th November 2015, 10am – 4pm

This workshop will focus on the business model that can enable and support the development of co-operative higher education. If you would like to attend, please contact Joss Winn.

Two scenarios will guide the day:

  • The creation of a new co-operative ‘higher education provider’
  • The conversion of an existing university into a co-operatively owned and democratically governed institution that maintains its university title.

A summary of what was achieved in previous workshops (pedagogy, governance and legal frameworks) will be presented to you at the start of the day. We have suggested a structure for the business workshop, together with a number of key themes to be addressed and some recommended reading material.

An important principle of the work we are doing together is that it should involve collaboration and co-operation at all stages, so we are very keen for your suggestions as to how the workshop should be organised as well as important matters you feel need to be discussed, together with suggestions for further reading.


Key suggested themes to be addressed at this workshop include:

  • Who are the co-operative’s members and what co-operative model are we proposing?
  • What services and/or products will the co-operative university provide?
  • What is the financial framework, including start-up costs, overheads, projected income streams, distribution of profits?
  • Getting started – registering the co-operative, being an employer and general responsibilities?


Some reading is suggested to inform your thinking about these issues before coming to the workshop:

Cook, Dan (2013) Realising the Co-operative University (pp. 48-50)

Mondragon Corporation – Annual Report (2014)

Co-operatives UK – Start a Co-op

Radical Roots (2012) How to Set Up a Workers Co-operative



We are proposing a ‘roundtable’ format, but welcome suggestions on the day for how we might organise our time together.

10.00 – 10.15 Coffee

10.15 – 10.30 Aims for the day

10.30 – 11.00 Presentation – Summary of previous workshop outcomes.

11.00 – 12.30 Roundtable discussion: Products and Services

12.30 – 13.00 Lunch

13.00 – 14.15 Roundtable discussion: Membership and Model

14.15 – 14.30 Break

14.30 – 15.45 Financial Framework

15.45 – 16.00 Wrap up and action planning: Getting Started


Online Focus Group

We are organising an online focus group for those of you who cannot attend the workshop. This will be on December 3rd 19.00 – 21.00 BST. More details will follow on how to join the online focus group. Please let us know ( if you wish to join it instead of this workshop.

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