Recommendations to boost cooperative enterprise based on ITU research
Danish startups and entrepreneurs lack knowledge of the potential in cooperative enterprise. The Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs’ taskforce on cooperative enterprise has published a new set of recommendations for legislators to address the problem. A team of ITU researchers has been instrumental in devising the recommendations by analyzing democratic entrepreneurship in Denmark.
The term cooperative enterprise covers a range of different forms of enterprise, the common denominator being that they are businesses based on the cooperative model of co-ownership. Approximately 20,000 cooperative enterprises are currently registered in Denmark, and more than one in twenty people on the labour market is employed by a cooperative enterprise. Even though cooperative enterprises account for at significant portion of the Danish economy, few entrepreneurs are aware of the model’s many benefits and possibilities.
To ensure equal opportunity for cooperative enterprises, the Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs has appointed a taskforce to assess the challenges cooperative enterprises meet and recommend concrete steps to alleviate them. A set of recommendations has just been announced, and part of the research foundation is supplied by a team of ITU researchers led by Lene Nielsen, Hanne Westh Nicolajsen, and Vasiliki Baka, all three Associate Professors at Business IT.
One of the conclusions presented in the research from ITU points towards a fundamental lack of knowledge about the cooperative enterprise model among state run business promotion initiatives. Thus, cooperative enterprise startups face a steep curve, because very little guidance is available. Cooperative enterprises are of particular relevance today as many cooperative businesses work on solving the problems of the labour market with new types of services.
Taking its cue from the ITU research, the taskforce recommends that funding is allocated to interdisciplinary research into cooperative enterprise and democratic business models to increase awareness of and knowledge about their potential.
“This is a big deal. The work that we have supplied the taskforce with may result in new legislation. Our research will have a tremendous impact,” says Lene Nielsen. “This has required a lot of hard work from the whole team. In just four months, we have conducted 70 interviews and written seven reports for our contribution to the taskforce.”
As part of the work with the project, the group of researchers has formed Forum on IT and Cooperative Governance (FITGC) which will host future research initiatives in cooperative enterprise.
Read the full report here (Danish) Theis Duelund Jensen, Press Officer, tel: 2555 0447, email: firstname.lastname@example.org