The 3 undeniable advantages of starting in an activity cooperative
The purpose of an activity cooperative is to help jobseekers start up their own business. It allows them to test out their business idea under the umbrella of the cooperative for 18 months. A set-up with a lot of advantages.
An activity cooperative is a non-profit organisation that works a bit like a test lab. It offer jobseekers a structure to present their business concept to professional coaches. Tempted by the idea? If so, in an initial stage, you will receive the necessary tools to prepare your company’s start-up: from drawing up a business plan to prospecting for customers.
In the second stage, you will be able to produce, sell and invoice like a real independent business, but under the protection of the activity cooperative. After 18 months, you will be given the choice to either continue or end your business.
Different options in Brussels
Brussels has several activity cooperatives :
JobYourself which supports project owners in the process of creating their company
JobYourself Baticrea only works with people active in the construction sector.
Backstage Brussels, an activity cooperative created to guide peopme with a creative or cultural project.
Rcoop, a cooperative focused on hairdressing, aesthetics and personal care professions
Brucoop, managed by DiES, aims to create cooperatives of independent and solidarity members
Still not convinced? The advantages at a glance
1. Customised professional guidance
You receive individual coaching from experts who assist and advise you. In addition, there are regular workshops with other entrepreneurs, allowing you to share experiences and learn from this type of exchange. A personal supervisor is also assigned to every (pre) starting entrepreneur. He or she also takes on the role of accountant, analysing your income and expenses to tell you where you need to make adjustments.
2. No endless red tape
Since the cooperative takes on a large part of the administration, you don’t need a company number as yet, and you are exempt from social security contributions. You do however have to pay an operating contribution. This sum is calculated on your gross margin (the turnover less the variable costs) and reflects the fixed costs – such as the social security contributions – that you will have once you take responsibility for your own accounts.
3. Starting up safely
You keep your benefits during the start-up phase. If, after 18 months, you decide to end your venture, your entitlement to a living wage will remain unaffected.