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Co-op is looking for new business ventures. As Co-op Group CEO Steve said on-stage at this year’s AGM, “we haven’t entered any new markets since 2006. So it feels time to look seriously as this.”

We’re not just looking for any business venture, we’re looking to disrupt markets with innovative Digital business models, where our co-operative difference adds real value.

Of course, Co-op’s no stranger to innovation. From our founding in 1844 as grocery alternative to rip-off merchants and adulterated food to pioneering Fairtrade with the UK’s first Fairtrade bananas we’ve been at the forefront.

Now’s the time to enter new markets.

The new markets we’re exploring

Our world is faced with unprecedented challenges. But, with challenge, comes a need and an opportunity to serve it. People are living longer and with ever-complex health needs, young people are facing financial pressures their parents did not. We can see markets that are failing or broken in these areas and more.

The markets we’re exploring are:

  • Health and wellbeing (all aspects of personal health and the health of families and communities)
  • New economies (ecommerce businesses and the emerging shared economy)
  • Financial wellbeing (life planning and later-life planning)

In these three areas we have big ideas, but we have to start small.

We’re focused on delivering for Co-op Members

Our ventures won’t be using ‘bricks and mortar’ on the high street, we’ll be launching Digital businesses. These will will be quick to develop and meet people’s needs fast. Crucially, we’re considering how to make a co-operative intervention in the markets we enter, for the benefit of our members and the wider community.

Innovation at our Co-op

Alongside our colleagues in the Digital team, we’re based in The Federation. The Federation is a community of Digital businesses and innovators built on co-operative values in Manchester. Stay updated on all venturing and innovation at Co-op:

Tim Davies
Director of Ventures

Read more on innovation at our Co-op:

Join the conversation! 7 Comments

  1. This will only work if it is developed WITH members (using their knowledge and experience) rather than as something done FOR them. The approach needs to be participative, not paternalistic. That is the Co-op difference.

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  2. Would be nice for any reply to those sent. Maybe you could help me. Q1 What is the Coop Policy on the use of Palm Oil in your Products. With over 300 Football Fields of Rainforest cut down every hour! Q2 what is the Coop Policy on Spray Drift of Chemicals in the household? In other words , all of those cleaners with Spray Propulsion. Both of these issues are now health related and cause concerns in our everyday life.

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  3. The co-op group abandoned us sickies by selling the pharmacies to Bestway and now you expect people to trust it on health and wellbeing. Sorry, we’ve messed that bed. We don’t even consistently support health and wellbeing in the food stores with cycle parking or consistent fresh product availability rather than sweets, fags and booze. It’s going to be a long road back to credibility. 😦

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  4. Will these be white labelled products with our coop name on them?

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    • Hi Dunc. The product would depend upon the business model we choose, for example if we provided a platform we may sell our own products.

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  5. Are we looking into social care as part of dveloping new opportunities?

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    • Hi Alison. We’ve noted the areas we’re exploring in the article but can’t go in to more detail, I’m afraid. Thanks, ^Ian

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Ventures and innovation