Setting up a cooperative
Setting up a cooperative does not normally require large initial capital. You and other possible members will, however, have to pay a membership fee jointly agreed at the cooperative's start-up phase. Submit the start-up notification to the Trade Register on paper. The cooperative's key organs are the cooperative’s General Meeting, a Board of Directors and a Managing Director.
You can set up a cooperative either alone or together with your partners. If there are more than one of you, you will own and administer the cooperative together. The cooperative's founders are usually also its members. Each cooperative member has one vote, unless the cooperative decides otherwise in its rules.
At least one of the actual members of the cooperative’s Board of Directors and one deputy member should be permanently domiciled in the European Economic Area, that is, in a European Union country, Liechtenstein, Norway or in Iceland. The same requirement applies to a possible Managing Director and their deputy. Otherwise they will require a permit from the Finnish Patent and Registration Office for holding a managerial position or other position of responsibility in the cooperative.
If you are under the age of 18, you cannot set up a cooperative or work as a member of the Board of Directors or as a Managing Director. You can, however, be a member of an active cooperative. In this case, your parent or guardian you must give their consent. The parent or guardian must also be authorised by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency to purchase shares for you.
Minors working in a student cooperation do not require a guardianship authority, but you should always check the Digital and Population Data Services Agency's position on the case.
Please note that even a company or other organisation may establish a cooperative.
Initial capital is needed for the establishment of a cooperative and the commencement of its business activities. The amount depends on factors such as the number of members, line of business and need for money in the initial phase of business operations. This can be collected from the founding members of the cooperative, for example, as a subscription price for shares.
Each founding member of the cooperative is obliged to subscribe to a share and pay the subscription price as agreed in the Memorandum of Association. The price is the same for everybody.
Subscription prices paid by the members will form the share capital. No minimum amount has been designated for the share capital.
The registration of a cooperative in the Trade Register costs a few hundred euros. Pay for the registration before sending the start-up notification.
Note that you will also need money to live on before your cooperative starts to generate sufficient income. You can apply for start-up money from the TE Services to secure your livelihood in the initial stages of your business. However, you should always apply for the start-up assistance in good time, before setting up your company. If necessary, you can also apply for a loan, for example, from a bank or another financial institution. If your company lacks the guarantees required by a bank, Finnvera's partial guarantee, i.e. a guarantee that the bank can apply for your from Finnvera, can be a solution for arranging the financing.
Submit the start-up notification of the cooperative to the Trade Register on paper. You can use the same form for registration in the Tax Administration’s Prepayment, Employers’ and VAT registers.
Submit the start-up notification within three months of signing the Memorandum of Association. If the Memorandum of Association is older, the formation of your cooperation expires.
Include the following in the start-up notification: alternatives for company name, place of business, line of business, financial period and address information. Attach the required documents, such as the Memorandum of Association, rules of the cooperative and a receipt of the payment of the start-up notification. Submit the notification to the Trade Register.
Then open a bank account for the cooperative and deposit the share capital in the bank account. After the cooperative has been registered, you must give the names of the beneficial owners to the Trade Register using the Business Information System.
You will find all the necessary start-up forms and document templates in the start-up package compiled by the Finnish Patent and Registration Office.