Coop in focus: Coffee Cranks Cooperative

coffee cranks cooperative

From Coffee Cranks Coop website:

We’re a social enterprise selling ethically sourced tea, coffee and snacks from our purpose built cargo bike. We want to help people realise corporatism can be challenged and that local cooperation can be a solution to many of the problems ailing our society. We are also very passionate about bikes and cycling and want to promote it as much as possible. Needless to say, sustainability is at the heart of everything we do.

Enter Zym:

Hello. My name is Zygmunt and I am a member of Coffee Cranks Cooperative Ltd.

A small workers’ coop selling coffee from a purpose built coffee bicycle.

What were your biggest challenges on day one?

Biggest challenge was that we had to build a bicycle we’ve never seen in our lives and perform tasks we’ve never done before. We were ready to learn.

What or who was the biggest help?

My dad helped us with some of the more challenging aspects of building the bike. It would take us so much longer if we wanted to do it on our own. The money we raised during our crowdfunding campaign as well as grant funding from the cooperative membership fund helped tremendously.

How did you go about getting funding?

Members’ Loanstock, Grant funding, Crowdfunding,

What problem is your business solving?

The business is solving a multifaceted problem of advanced capitalist economies where local business can’t afford the rent as multinational corporations are pricing them out from their local areas. As a result money is leaving the local economies and probably ends up in some American hedge fund making some insanely rich people even richer. We wanted to feel responsible and make a difference to people in our community that feel helpless demonstrating that there are ways of overcoming certain obstacles. Some of us have thought that it’s similar to what this guy did back in the day http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michał_Drzymała

How did you find out that this problem exists?

Most of the coop members and me particularly hold special interest in politics, social aspects and culture.

Why a coop, why not a regular business?

We view the private business model i.e. one in which the select few own the means of production (apologies for the Marxist language but the socialists, communists were the first to identify the problem) as the source of the social and political problems in societies across the globe today. It would be unwise and unethical to repeat the same mistake.

What type of cooperative are you?

Workers’ Coop

What is your cooperative’s income sharing structure?

We’ve not been operating long enough to share any profit but as with most workers’ coops we will pay our members according to the time and effort put in the development of the coop.

What is your decision making process?

We hold general meetings once a month and informal meetings more often. Due to the small size of the coop (4 members) we can reach decisions quite efficiently.

How quickly can you make decisions?

Most decisions can be taken by any given coop member. Decisions in regards to money, investment etc. require us to meet which wouldn’t be any different from other business models where shareholders are present.

How would you compare the individual level of autonomy as compared to a regular employment?

Very high in comparison

What extra advice can you give to would be founders of coops?

Plan and think of ways to keep the momentum high as the project can easily derail if the group lacks focus.

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