Business interests, local communities, consumers and workers in Limerick’s energy sector interested in joining Ireland’s first multi-stakeholder cooperative are invited to attend a seminar at The Kemmy Business School in the University of Limerick on Saturday 27th October 2012.
The new Limerick Workers Cooperative will feature a combination of producer, consumer, worker and community co-ops in Limerick’s biomass, electricity and intensive commercial horticulture sectors.
Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance will officially launch the new Cooperative at the “Reinventing Limerick – The Cooperative Way” seminar, which will also feature leading worker cooperatives from Britain and Ireland, both north and south, to tell their story of how they built their businesses. Also participating is The Coop Bank UK, voted Europe’s Most Sustainable Bank in the Financial Times Sustainable Bank Awards 2012.
Supported by Limerick City Council and Limerick County Council, the Limerick Workers Cooperative is being spearheaded byMeitheal Mid–West, an organisation comprising local business leaders and social enterprise advocates.
“The Cooperative isbeing styled on the internationally successful Mondragón Cooperative Corporation in the Spanish Basque country, which has sustained over a quarter of a million jobs in spite of the ongoing recession. It will feature a combination of producer, consumer, worker and community co-ops in Limerick,” explained Bill Kelly, co-founder of Meitheal Mid West.
Mr. Kelly explained that the development of the Limerick Workers Cooperative represents an innovative approach to developing business opportunities for new and existing businesses in the region.
“Cooperatives have more buying and bargaining power than individual members might ordinarily have. Industrial worker cooperatives are competitive, innovative and profitable business entities which are proved to be more resilient that conventional businesses in times of recession. This development is of particular local significance in light of recent figures from the Central Statistic Office (CSO) that confirm 7 of the country’s 10 worst unemployment blackspots are in Limerick,” he added.
Commenting on the upcoming seminar, Mr. Kelly said: “Following on from last year’s visit to Limerick by the Mondragón Cooperative, we are inviting leading worker cooperatives from Britain and Ireland, both north and south, to tell their story of how they built their businesses. The second theme will focus on the launch of Limerick’s and Ireland’s first-multi stakeholder cooperative.”
Among the speakers at the upcoming day-long seminar at The Kemmy Business School will be Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance, representatives from the UK Coop Bank, environmental science instrument manufacture Delta-T Devices, international renewable energy pioneers Dulas Engineering, and Specialist Wholesaler The Suma Coop, The Unicorn Coop (Manchester’s Cooperative Grocery). Northern Ireland will be represented by The Belfast Cleaning Cooperative and The Northern Ireland Cooperative Forum, the regional body representing the interests of existing and emerging co-operatives in Northern Ireland. Other contributors include The Bridge Street Coop in Kenmare and Roscommon Home Services (RHS).
“Reinventing Limerick – The Cooperative Way” will be opened by Michael Noonan TD, Minister for Finance, at 10:30 am on 27th October 2012.
The seminar is open to anyone wishing to be involved in the development and ownership of Limerick’s cooperatives, or wishing to find out more about the cooperative movement (unemployed – graduates & non graduates are particularly welcome). The event is free but interested persons are requested to register in advance at the Workers Cooperative Network site,www.workerscooperativenetwork.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org