Cooperative

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.

Cooperative Types

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 handcraft 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 VSA 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 VSA Ch 14.


Cooperative
Law

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:

Consumers,’ Marketing, or Railroad Cooperatives:


Cooperative Housing Corporations:


Worker Cooperative Corporations:

Workers cooperative corporations must first register as either a general or a close corporation, then elect to be a workers cooperative. Please select one of the following forms:


Non-Vermont (foreign) 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.”


Name Availability

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:

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Coming soon: All registration, management, and closing functions will occur via our Online Business Service Center.

This page was last updated: 2014-08-01