2012: The UN International Year of Cooperatives

Of course, we’re all very excited about Co-op Year - an amazing opportunity to bring cooperatives in a new footlight and raise public and internal awareness about this special business model. At CO-OP Champions we share this excitement and have started preparations for -what we believe would be- a very special contribution: A world online network for cooperative leaders in agribusiness.

A World Online Network

Worldwide, there are probably many cooperatives in your the (agri)business sector as yours. And you might well be able to learn a lot from their experience - if you would know them, have their contact details and be given some platform to interact and discuss. Which isn’t there really. There are national organizations, there are sectoral bodies, but either they are not cooperative specific or they are at large distance from cooperative business itself.

And then there is the internet and there are all these social communities. But again, it’s quite a search to find hotspots of cooperative business relevant discourse in these online networks.

How nice it would be if cooperative business leaders across the world could get to know and interact with each other with ease! In fact, with available technology and a good address book this wouldn’t be all too difficult. With an international cooperative year approaching, this would actually be highly opportune. Why not do it?

So we worked out the basic idea and submitted a proposal to a major cooperative financial institution for funding. It is a group with with a clientele comprising most of the big players in the global food and agribusiness; if they wouldn’t embrace this concept and be willing to support it, who else would? We’ll let you know as soon as we get their final confirmation.

In the meantime, let’s start sketching out some of the important discourse topics.


We sense that there is a great need for cooperatives internationally to engage in a meaningful discourse on cooperative specific issues. Sure as a cooperative you can talk to any consulting group, any bank, accountant or law firm and they will all tell you what you need to do. Many of them look at the cooperative business model as a strange form of stock-listed company - it isn’t even listed! And that’s how then they will look at you. Their advice may be tempting for a fair number of executives. But this may not necessarily be in the long-term, best interest of members. So we find it important to create a platform where you as cooperative leaders may speak with the ‘right’ people: your international peers. You’re not alone facing the challenges that you do. There are others very similar to you and they’re willing to enter into conversation with you. Let’s make a start...

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Independent &

CO-OP Champions

Dr. Onno F. van Bekkum

Cooperative Strategist & CEO

Van Herlaerstraat 1

5324 EA Ammerzoden

The Netherlands

Mobile: +31 (0)6-3614 5231