Background to the programme
Having observed that the creation of individual businesses or self-employed companies did not meet the needs and aspirations of most people who wish to live from their trade independently, Coopaname propose the sharing of a cooperative enterprise rather than the individual creating their own to sucessfully conduct their economic projects. Born from the actions of the Cooperative for Activities and Employment (CAE) created in Lyon in 1995 by Elisabeth Bost, today Coopaname is a company with over 700 people, mainly present in Ile-de-France. The establishment of Aubervilliers saw the light of day in 2007 and brings together about 80 people from all professions (carpenter, trainer, software developer, shepherd, motion designer ...).
Objectives of the programme
Everyday Coopaname is building a new form of economic organisation in which new connections to work can be invented. Beyond the subordinated employee and precarious entrepreneurship, it's about developing cooperation, in other words the possibility for each and everyone to practice their profession independently through their enrolment in a democratically managed joint venture. By pooling the resources of the cooperative framework together, the members of Coopaname are collectively provided with solidarity, rights, training, finance, social protections, sponshorship opportunities and collaborations which they would not have had access to if they were individual entrepreneurs .
- Support and development of activities: integration within the cooperative and support of the leader of the desired project to practice their profession in this framework, alone or with other partners. Benefitting from salaried social protection, mechanisms of collective enterprises (vocational training, profit-sharing agreement ...), a pooling of risks. From an entrepreneurial perspective, the pooling of administrative, accounting and financial (etc.) functions of the company. Individual, group and mutual support of the activities of each person throughout. Access to training, workshops, working groups, professional collaborations etc.
- Education to the economy program: by partnering with colleges and high schools in particular, members of Coopaname also direct many popular education actions aimed at the discovery of the newest professions and cooperative practices.
- Youth Program: National Project "Chillies" enables the integration of young professionals into Coopaname though a mentoring network with the most experienced members.
- "Coworking" and "FabLab" (digital creative laboratory) through the cooperative Point Carré in Saint-Denis, which Coopaname is one of the founding members (scheduled to open in September 2015).
- Educational Component (in collaboration with the Chair of Social and Solidarity Economy of the University of Marne-la-Vallée): work with university lecturers and students to enable students to complete a project in the form of a cooperative during the academic year.
Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions
- In 10 years of existence, Coopaname has become an iconic business of the cooperative renewal in Europe. It brings together more than 700 people at various stages their projects' development (from the early stages to sustainable business via intermittent activity) and will produce about 8 million euros of turnover in 2014.
- In 2014, Coopaname, along with SMart and Oxalis, is initiating the creation of "Bigre", the first workers union that already brings 7,000 people from very different trades in an interprofessional network: artists, craftsmen, service providers, performance technicians, freelance journalists, farmers, freelancers, authors, sports players etc.
The experimental nature of Coopaname (a scalable structure) which is built at the intersection of different worlds: academic and universal education, entrepreneurship and employment, economic development and social action, high technology and integration, trade union action and self-management etc. Using the idea reciprocal working, Coopaname and Bigre intend to propose a progressive and productive alternative in the debate on new connections to employment and flexible-security.
Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme
Local Government (Plaine Commune, Paris city councils, Nanterre, Chevilly-Larue, General Council of Val-de-Marne, Ile-de-France etc.), Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, DIRECCTE, other players in the ESS ( Access, Minga, the Little Débrouillards SMart, Oxalis, etc.), European Union, University of Marne-la-valley, etc.
Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :
- The lease in Aubervilliers will finish at the end of 2015, we must seek new premises but the rental prices have doubled in 5 years: Coopaname is under the threat of being forced to leave the area.
Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :
Suggestions for future improvement :
Creation of the cooperative factory ("Manucoop" national project) the offer of support for any group of people who want to work towards a common cooperative project (creation, transformation, renewal, evolution into a cooperative, whatever the type and status of the cooperative concerned).
Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :
- The democratic vitality of the cooperative, namely its ability to quickly and effectively integrate a growing number of partners and to ensure that the responsibilities (including elective offices) are taken on by a large number of well trained partners with a high turnover rate who are representative of the sociology of the company.
- The ability to continuously increase the automation of the most commonplace procedures, including gradually generalising the collaborative information systems.
- Securing the support of the public authorities to finance the support provided within the cooperative.
- The preservation of a culture of effective organisational despite the development of the company's size.
- The legal restraint of the state in promoting the social economy.
- Not hesitating to contact the Factory for help on this subject.
Ideas for basic or applied research topics, that could be useful to the programme :
- Democracy and business: what kinds of representations of power?
- Why is Coopaname 2/3s comprised of women?
- The link between the development of business creation and the impoverishment of areas?
Aux Entreprenants Associés, Elisabeth Bost, éditions Repas 2011
Faire société, le choix coopératif, collectif la Manufacture coopérative, éditions du Croquant 2014