A cooperative (Coop) is a business structure that is an association of people governed by a common goal—united to meet their economic, social, and cultural needs through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.
In Vermont, there are five types of cooperatives. A brief description of each is outlined below:
- Consumers’ Cooperative: A nonprofit corporation formed for the acquisition and distribution for the benefit of ultimate consumers of property, goods, commodities, or services.
- Marketing Cooperative: A nonprofit corporation formed for the marketing of agricultural or handcrafted products.
- Railroad Cooperative: A nonprofit corporation formed for the organization, acquisition, and operation of a general transportation business by railroad; including truck, bus, air, and water transportation subsidiaries of the railroad.
- Worker Cooperative Corporation: A corporation self-managed by its workers. Any for-profit corporation may elect to be governed as a worker cooperative corporation in accordance with 11 V.S.A. Ch 8.
- Cooperative Housing Corporation: A corporation that owns a group of housing units with common areas for the use of all the residents. Any for-profit corporation may elect to be governed as a cooperative housing corporation in accordance with 11 V.S.A. Ch 14.
Foreign (non-Vermont) Cooperative Doing Business in Vermont
If you are an existing out-of-state cooperative and wish to do business in Vermont, you need to obtain a Certificate of Authority from the Office of the Secretary of State. This is accomplished by using the Application for Certificate of Authority (Corporations) form below. Please note that you will need a Certificate of Good Standing from your home state to submit with your application.
Please visit Title 11, Chapter 7 of the Vermont Statutes Online for more information.
STOP: Before you get started, we recommend that you consult with an attorney, accountant, or business advisor about which business structure is best for you.
Registering a Cooperative
To create a Vermont (domestic) cooperative corporation, you will need to file one of the following forms:
Worker Cooperative Corporations:
To register a foreign (non-Vermont) cooperative corporation for the purpose of doing business in Vermont, you will need to file the following form:
Once registered, you must renew a nonprofit registration every two years—or a profit (workers cooperatives) registration every year. For renewal information, please see “Manage Your Registration."
Do not invest in websites, banners, advertisements, or other marketing materials until you receive a certificate confirming your ownership of the requested name.
The state of Vermont operates under a “deceptively similar” standard. Under this standard, if the requested name is so similar to an already registered name, such that it would confuse the public as to whom they are dealing with, it will be rejected.
All registrations with the Office of the Secretary of State are subject to name availability rules. Please search our online database for your desired business name to avoid any obvious conflicts:
Coming soon: All registration, management, and closing functions will occur via our Online Business Service Center.