The number of people turning their backs on the traditional career ladder in favour of becoming their own boss is unmistakably growing. Whether opting for freelancing or entrepreneurship, the allure of autonomy inherent in self-employment is gaining substantial traction. However, it is vital to acknowledge the potential pitfalls intertwined with being one’s own boss.

Engaging in such a role can lead people to find themselves either with little work and not much money coming in, or an overwhelming influx of tasks leading to burnout. Luckily, co-operatives are an alternative that can be as fulfilling and rewarding as self-employment.

A cooperative, often referred to as a co-op, is a business or organisation owned and run by its members. Unlike the conventional corporate hierarchy, where decisions are made by a select few at the top, cooperatives promote democratic decision-making, ensuring that every member’s voice is heard and valued. This unique structure not only fosters a strong sense of ownership but also empowers individuals to actively participate in shaping the direction of the business.

One can set up or become part of a co-operative, enjoying the freedom of being one’s own boss, having the support of a group of worker-owners and sometimes enjoying a better salary than a traditional business would offer.


Co-operatives as a Means of Gaining Back Power 

The worldwide resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic triggered cooperatives to start to resurface globally. Research has shown that the co-operative business model was the one that people have turned towards during difficult times, particularly when they’ve been unsupported by the state.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a big impact on the global economy; hence, it is no surprise that co-operatives were sought after once again. Lockdowns and lack of support from the state forced companies to size down or even close, resulting in several jobs being lost. Agricultural cooperatives in the EU played a crucial role in maintaining food supply chains when traditional distribution channels were disrupted due to the multiple restrictions. These cooperatives, which often involve farmers and producers working together, leveraged their collective strength to ensure that fresh produce, dairy products, and other essentials reached consumers.


Why Co-operatives Are the Future 

On average, co-operatives present a higher degree of stability compared to alternative employment options; individuals who have transitioned from traditional work to worker-owners in co-ops tend to regard it as a very commendable choice. Studies show that worker-owners of co-ops earn a higher amount per hour than workers in traditional businesses do.

The profits earned by the co-operative are distributed back to members in proportion to their engagement with the co-operative’s services or products, ensuring that hard work directly translates into shared success. This engagement is often measured by the amount of business conducted with the co-operative.

Additionally, co-operatives demonstrate a greater resilience against failure when contrasted with other business models. Moreover, worker-owners appreciate being able to share in the decision-making process of their business and the sense of agency that comes with that.

Considering the myriad of advantages, an increasing number of individuals are delving into the prospect of establishing their own co-operatives.


How Koperattivi Malta (KM) can help explore the prospect of being your own boss

Koperattivi Malta is the Apex organisation for cooperatives in Malta, leveraging over 25 years of expertise to offer support to co-operatives across 15 diverse sectors. Encompassing members from various industries, ranging from technology to real estate and agriculture, membership in KM grants members access to an array of advantageous features, designed to cultivate growth and prosperity.

Firstly, KM provides complimentary legal and HR consultancy services during the formative stages of cooperatives. Understanding the challenges of budget constraints and bureaucratic complexities, the organization’s experienced professionals help address the specialized legal and HR concerns, ensuring members receive tailored guidance. KM also grants startups free access to office space, including a Multi-Purpose Hall, Board Room, and Office Spaces for the initial six months.

In addition to this, as part of KM, co-operative members enjoy favourable rates on accounting, auditing, and taxation services through strategic partnerships.  Furthering their commitment to member success, Koperattivi Malta guides co-operatives through funding applications, offering comprehensive support to identify suitable funding schemes and navigate the intricate application procedures. Anchored within a global co-operative network, Koperattivi Malta also opens avenues for international collaboration and opportunities, strengthening its role as a catalyst for co-operative development.

If the aspiration to become your own boss drives you and you are intrigued by the co-operative model, reach out to us  at [email protected] for a complimentary consultation with one of our team members.

Don’t just dream of being your own boss – make it a reality through the co-operative advantage.