A cooperative is a community the number of members and amount of cooperative capital is not predefined. The purpose of a cooperative is, to support the economy and profession of its members, to practise business in such a way that the members will make use of the services provided by the cooperative or other services that the cooperative arranges by a daughter community or other means.

A cooperative can be established by natural persons or communities, foundations, or other juridical persons. A founder has to take membership in the cooperative.

The members of a cooperative are not responsible for the liabilities of a cooperative in person. The founders must compile a charter of foundation, and it is to be dated and signed by the founders. Members of the cooperative´s council are chosen by the annual general meeting. The board members must receive a dated and signed approval to enter the positions. A cooperative must have a council unless otherwise specified in the rules.

A cooperative can have an executive manager if so stipulated in the rules or decided by the council. The council must see to that a list of members is being kept. The list shows his/her name and address, the number of participation shares, and the date when he/she became a member. A member has got the right to give up the membership by submitting a notice on it in writing, as required by the law.

It is also possible to expel a member due to his/her neglected duties brought by the membership. The rules of the cooperative may also serve as the source for other criteria for expelling. A membership cannot be transferred to someone else.

The annual meeting of a cooperative has to be held within six months from the end of the previous fiscal period, unless an earlier date has been specified. In the meeting, the closing of the accounts, auditor´s report, and a possible board members' statement will be presented.

An extraordinary meeting has to be held whenever the board or council finds it appropriate. To become a member of a cooperative, one is to take one share and to submit the required participation share. However, it is possible to define in the rules that a member has to take several shares when joining the cooperative or in the course of the membership, or that this obligation is eventually reduced during the membership.

It is also possible to require that a member has to submit a connection fee when the membership begins or when the number of shares is increased. The fee is not returned unless otherwise specified in the rules.

Overview Forms of Company | Single-member company | Unlimited partnership | Limited partnership | Limited company | Society