A cooperative society is a voluntary organization in which individuals, businessmen and traders with common interest pool their resources together to protect the economic and welfare interest of their members. It is owned and controlled by the members e.g. Onward Cooperative Society.
CHARACTERISTICS OF COOPERATIVE SOCIETIES
- PERPETUITY: There is continuity. The death of a member cannot bring the organization to an end.
- LIMITED LIABILITY: The liability of members is limited to the shares held by individual shareholders
- DEMOCRACY: Their activities are democratic in nature. Each member is entitled to one vote irrespective of the total shares.
- PROFIT SHARING: The profit made in the year is shared among the members on the basis of their patronage during the year.
- OBJECTIVE: The main aim of the society is to promote and advance the interest of their members by rendering services to them.
- MANAGEMENT: The organization is managed and controlled by a committee whose members are elected from the members of the society.
- CAPITAL: Capital is raised through voluntary contributions from the members
- OWNERSHIP: They are owned by people with common interest. This may put some restrictions to its membership as some conditions must be met before one can become a member.
HISTORY OF COOPERATIVE SOCIETIES
Robert Owen established the first cooperative Society in 1808 at New Lonark, England. However, the producer cooperative only had very little success in England at that time. In 1844, a group of twenty-eight (28) weavers also formed a retail cooperative society known as the ROCHDALE PIONEERS. The objective of the society was to raise fund or capital to finance a provision and clothing store and to provide employment to members. This time the establishment was a success.