Business and employment cooperative

Business and employment co-operatives (BECs) represent a new approach to providing support to the creation of new businesses. The first BEC was started in France in 1996, since then a further 55 such enterprises operating in 100 locations across the country has sprung up. The idea has also been adopted in Belgium, Sweden, Quebec, Morocco and Madagascar. Like other business creation support schemes, BECs enable budding entrepreneurs to experiment with their business idea while benefiting from a secure income. The innovation BECs introduce is that once the business is established the entrepreneur is not forced to leave and set up independently, but can stay and become a full member of the co-operative. The micro-enterprises thus combine to form one multi-activity enterprise whose members provide a mutually supportive environment for each other. A BEC thus provides budding business people with an easy transition from inactivity to self-employment, but in a collective framework. Intending entrepreneurs pass through three stages: First, they remain technically unemployed but develop their business idea under the wing of the BEC; Next, if it looks like being a success, they become a ‘salaried entrepreneur’ with the security of a part-time employment contract; Finally they become a self-sufficient business, sharing in the ownership and management of the co-operative. BECs allow a small business person to achieve control over their working life, but with the support of a group of people who are facing the same problems and want to pool their enthusiasm and expertise. They help to overcome one of the most discouraging features of becoming self-employed – isolation. They thus lower the bar for becoming an entrepreneur, and open up new horizons or people who have ambition but who lack the skills or confidence needed to set off entirely on their own – or who simply want to carry on an in dependent economic activity but within a supportive group context. BEC clients are in all sorts of activities from cookery, industrial cleaning, furniture restoration and organic horticulture to violin making, jewellery, translation and web design. At the end of 2005, the 90 sites in the BEC network numbered 2,618 supported entrepreneurs plus 1,138 salaried entrepreneurs (including 60 member entrepreneurs), with a combined turnover of ˆ16.5 million in 2005. Two-thirds of entrepreneurs start off as unemployed, two-thirds are aged between 30 and 50 and 53% are women.Unemployment (or joblessness) occurs when people are without work and actively seeking work.[1] The unemployment rate is a measure of the prevalence of unemployment and it is calculated as a percentage by dividing the number of unemployed individuals by all individuals currently in the labor force. During periods of recession, an economy usually experiences a relatively high unemployment rate.[2] According to International Labour Organization report, "More than 197 million people globally are out of work or 6% of the world's workforce were without a job in 2012.[3] There remains considerable theoretical debate regarding the causes, consequences and solutions for unemployment. Classical economics, New classical economics, and the Austrian School of economics argue that market mechanisms are reliable means of resolving unemployment. These theories argue against interventions imposed on the labor market from the outside, such as unionization, minimum wage laws, taxes, and other regulations that they claim discourage the hiring of workers.

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