How to set up a co-op

Cooperatives are popular with government and group projects. We look at the requirements for registration and why you need professional help.

A cooperative is registered with the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (CIPRO), which is part of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). A minimum of five people are needed for registration approval. Select the group members of your co-op and decide what to name it. Send five name choices to CIPRO, in case one or more are already taken. Only one name will be approved and allocated to your co-op. Sometimes all five names are rejected and the process starts again.

Application forms are available on the CIPRO Website (www.cipro.gov.za), but it’s advisable to get professional help with this process. Working through application forms is often difficult, and mistakes could have CIPRO returning the documents for the process to start from scratch. Before the registration process, group members must compile a constitution and send a copy to CIPRO with the application forms. A sample constitution is available on the DTI Website (www.thedti.gov.za). Study and alter this document to suit the new business group members’ specific needs. Each member should sign the document to confirm approval of its contents.

A constitution is needed to sort out conflict and must present guidelines on every aspect of the business. For the CIPRO application form, you’ll need the co-op members’ names, identity numbers and residential and postal addresses. Identify the directors, who must agree with the number of directors mentioned in the constitution document. Hold a general meeting before the application process and enter this date into the application. Remember, all meetings must be recorded in a” minute” book.

For authenticity purposes, this should be a book where the pages can’t be removed.A special form is available for the co-op to get exemption from having an auditor. This form is signed by the co-op chairperson and should be done before a commissioner of oaths, to be valid.The registration process costs money, so does getting professional help, but this is the most efficient way to get the job done.