What is a Scop?
A Scop (société cooperative et participative) is a cooperative enterprise in which the employees hold the majority of the company’s share capital. Employees elect the management team, actively participate in decision-making, manage the company, and share its profits, in accordance with the democratic economic principles of cooperatives. Under French commercial law, Scop may be incorporated as an SA (société anonyme) public limited company or an SARL (société à responsabilité limitée) limited liability company.
Voting at the Annual General Meeting follows the cooperative rule of “one person, one vote”, regardless of the amount of share capital held by each individual. Profits are distributed to employees through various employee profit-sharing schemes and appropriated to various company reserves to fund investment and ensure the Scop’s durability. Profits are also distributed to internal and external shareholders based on the size of their holdings in the Scop.
From a legal standpoint, Scop are subject to specific regulations established under France’s Law of 19 July 1978. Matters not covered by that law fall under the general law for cooperatives, followed by the law governing commercial companies.
Focused on people more than capitals, Scop are considered by many to be the ultimate company structure for participatory management. Employees are actively involved in their companies and are highly motivated since they have direct stakes in the capital ownership, results, management, and decision-making of the Scop. Learning is encouraged. Scop endeavour to satisfy the individual and collective training needs of employees by offering technical, managerial and cooperative training programmes.
Scop companies are fully-fledged businesses. They mostly take the form of small to medium-sized companies, employing from two to 1,200 people. They are present in every sector of business, from building and public works, manufacturing, food services, farming, transport, and insurance, to IT, consulting, communication, new technologies, healthcare, education, and culture.
Through employment and activity cooperatives (CAE – Cooperatives d’Activité et d’Emploi
), the Scop network actively support and accompany individual entrepreneurs in the pursuit of their initiatives. In addition, the Scop network also promotes the creation of SCIC (Sociétés Coopératives d’Intérêt Collectif)
which are collective interest cooperatives bringing together employees, users, volunteers, and local authorities to implement local development projects.
Scop, the smart way to build a business together
· Scop promote participatory company management
Because employees have a direct stake in capital ownership, decision-making processes and results, Scop are considered to be the ultimate step in participatory company management.
· Scop offer a shared entrepreneurial experience
Scop build a sense of belonging and spark the entrepreneurial spirit through a shared approach to creating and maintaining a business.
· Scop are durable, local players
Because employees are the decision-makers and as the capital is non-transferable, Scop cannot be bought out or outsourced offshore.
· Scop encourage learning
Training and informing are an inherent part of the Scop’s participatory nature.
· Scop promote responsibility, solidarity and good citizenship
Scop encourage each individual to take responsibility in a common project where power, decision-making and profit are distributed fairly.
· Scop teach entrepreneurship
By its very nature, the Scop statute encourages full entrepreneurial participation. The Scop Enterprises network helps to develop entrepreneurial skills through its cooperative and managerial training programme. Activity and employment cooperatives also welcome entrepreneurs and facilitate the creation of cooperative companies.
· Scop strike a balance
The Scope statute strikes a balance between entrepreneurial freedom and the security of a group working together, between individual fulfilment and group achievement, and between economic necessity and human ambition. It balances the relationships between managers and employees, the remuneration of work and the return on investment, and it balances managing the short term with building the long term.
The Scop’s network
Financed by member cooperatives and managed by elected representatives from Scop, the Scop’s network accompanies the creation and development of cooperative companies. It is one of the few networks offering entrepreneurs a full range of services:
· An introduction to creating a company
· Accompanying and monitoring activities over the life of the company
· Training · Inter-professional exchanges
· Representation among economic, political and social organisations.
The Scop network is comprised of the following:
· The “Confédération générale des Scop” leads and coordinates the Scop’s network and represents Scop at the national level in France.
· Thirteen regional unions accompany the day-to-day development of Scop and provide representation at the regional and local levels.
· Three professional federations represent the Scop of their sector in dealing with authorities in their respective fields and provide economic, technical and legal advice as well as support in the development of their activities. The three professional federations encompass the following three sectors of activity:
- Building and public works,