Co-op Case Studies
There’s evidence of c0-op success in every corner of British Columbia, and in various sectors of the economy.
Whether they’re small local co-ops or large credit unions, the common thread shared by all BC co-ops is a commitment to co-operative principles, which have proven to be successful in any sector. Co-ops also share a strong bond with their community members who support them, benefit from their programs and services, and are invested in their success.
The following case studies highlight a few unique BCCA co-op members that have made great impacts both locally and internationally.
About: Founded in 2013, Stocksy is an artist owned, multi-stakeholder digital cooperative that provides high-end, hand-picked stock photography and video imagery. The company employs 25 people in five countries and has over 900 carefully selected artists, each of which is a Stocksy voting co-op member. As a multi-stakeholder co-operative, shares are available to company executives, staff members, and artists.
Stocksy’s clients include over 100 of the Fortune 500 companies in the U.S., and the company is the agency of record for some of the world’s most prestigious ad agencies.
The Co-op Difference:
- Stocksy is driven by a belief in creative integrity, fair profit sharing and co-op ownership, with every voice being heard
- Members pay just $1 for their co-op share, and there are no sign-up fees or annual dues
- As opposed to traditional stock photography sites that usually pay contributors 15 to 45 per cent of sales, contributing Stocksy artists receive 50 per cent of a Standard License Purchase, and 75 per cent of an Extended License Purchase
- Artists stay creatively engaged and motivated to produce great work, and they bring home a substantial percentage of each sale
- In 2015, Stocksy’s annual revenue was $7.9 million and more than half ($4.3 million) was paid out in royalties to artists; Stocksy’s $200,000 surplus revenue for the year was paid out as dividends to member artists
Alma Mater Society (AMS) Bike Co-op at the University of British Columbia (UBC)
About: The AMS Bike Co-op has been working to make bicycle culture accessible to everyone since 1998. The co-op provides an environment where anyone can learn to build, fix or maintain bicycles, share resources and work together. What began as a student club aimed at creating a fleet of shared purple and yellow bicycles for students to get around campus has since transformed into a thriving co-op business.
The co-op runs two major operations:
- The bike co-op delivers several outreach and learning programs, some of which are aimed at supporting specific groups like the LGBTQ2I community, women, and migrant workers
- The Bike Kitchen is a non-profit community bike shop that teaches people to use bike tools to build, fix and maintain their own bikes; the Bike Kitchen also recycles bikes by fixing abandoned or donated bikes to sell at reasonable prices
The Co-op Difference:
- The AMS Bike Co-op aims to service UBC students, staff and faculty, as well as general community members both on and off campus
- The co-op receives ongoing support from UBC Transportation Planning and the Alma Mater Society of UBC, as well as the community
- Memberships are $15 for students and $20 for faculty, staff and community members; people who volunteer for six hours can get a free membership, and members get discounts on co-op programs and new bike parts and accessories
- To create a truly accessible and inclusive environment, a Safer Spaces policy is in place to educate participants on how to maintain positive interactions with other members, and to outline intolerable behaviour such as harassment and discrimination, including discrimination based on the brand, appearance or state of repair of someone’s bicycle
- The AMS Bike Co-op receives $1 per student annually as part of its student fees
- Proceeds from student fees go towards supporting green transportation options and continuing to provide programs and services to make cycling more accessible to everyone
Visit the BC Co-op Association’s Member Directory to explore the province’s diverse and thriving co-op sector.