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How to set up a co-op

  • Considerations for registration

Before applying for registration as a co-op, applicants are to have due considerations as to:

  • Whether the proposed co-op promotes the economic/social interests of its members and/or the economic/social interests of the general public, in accordance with co-op principles;
  • Meets the minimum membership requirement of at least 5 persons or 2 institutional members, each of whom qualifies and willing to take up membership;
  • The sufficient capital for the commencement of operations; and
  • Demonstrate that the proposed co-op will have in place the required organisational and management structure to oversee the operations of the proposed co-op.

The process to setting up a co-op are summed up below:

  • Setting up a Pro-tem Committee

Pro-tem Committee must have at least 3 members. The Pro-tem Committee:

  • Undertakes the feasibility study of the proposed co-op. A viability statement consisting of the business plan and the financial projections (at least 3 years) is to be prepared.
  • Consider the society’s objects and by-laws, and
  • Draft by-laws
  • Seeking the Registrar’s comments

The Pro-tem Committee, once they’ve completed the feasibility study and drafted the by-laws, submits:

  • A viability statement
  • Individual members’ details, like: name, NRIC number and occupation
  • Draft by-laws for the Registrar’s approval, based on the requirements in the Schedule of the Co-operative Societies Act.

You can refer to the model by-laws here:

  • Preliminary meeting

Once the proposed co-op has obtained the Registrar’s comments, a preliminary meeting will be held with at least five persons qualified for membership.

In this meeting, the by-law’s proposed by the Committee and commented on by the Registrar need to be discussed and adopted by the potential members, accepting all the rights, duties and liabilities prescribed within the by-laws.

  • Membership

You can apply to be a co-op member if:

  • You are at least 16 years old (or at least 12 years old if it’s a school co-op)
  • You are a Singaporean citizen or resident in Singapore
  • Meet all the residential, employment and profession requirements, and any such other requirements laid out in the by-laws
  • For credit co-ops: belong to a pre-existing common bond (such as same community, industry and employer) as provided in the by-laws
  • Institutional membership in a co-op is open to other registered co-ops or trade unions
  • Application for registration

To apply for registration as a co-op, the following documents must be submitted:

  • Application form: download and complete the credit co-op registration form, or the non-credit co-operative registration form
  • Personal details such as name, NRIC or FIN No, nationality, occupation and address of at least five potential members
  • Proposed by-laws
  • Business plan and three-year financial projections. The business plan should contain things like (but not limited to) business strategy, products and services, target customers, expected demand. Financial projections should include the balance sheet, income and expenditure and cash flow statements.
  • Minutes of the preliminary meeting and signatures of all present at the meeting

After registration

When your co-op is registered, the Pro-tem committee manages the co-op until you have your First Meeting following the registration.

You must hold your First Meeting within first three months after the co-op receives its notice of registration.

In your First meeting, you need to elect your co-op officers. These officers will manage the operations of the co-op as the committee of management until the First Annual General Meeting. The officers shall be eligible for re-election at the First Annual General Meeting.

For assistance and advice on setting up a co-op, please visit here.

Last updated on 23 June 2023