- Constituted and registered our cooperative of linguistic services, currently consisting of four founding socios
- Invested the obligatory minimum capital (€3000)
- Begun building our first service, a pool of material and courses for English teachers
- Made available our second service, a stock of teaching & learning technology (one tablet so far!)
- Acquired our third service: a legal consultant and service cooperatives expert, whose advice has formed the basis of regular information sessions and How-To guides
- Provided translation and teaching to our first clients: Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and Meroil S.A.
- Embarked on our first solidarity project with The Phoenix Projects
Not a bad effort for now, but there is so much still to do! Before we go on to that, here’s a quick look at how all this is supposed to work.
As we said in the previous post, we are a cooperative of language professionals working on our own account and clubbing together to develop or acquire, and share, resources and other services. The aim of all this is to develop and commercialise these services while serving the local community and improving our individual working conditions and opportunities.
These services can be provided by socios or acquired from third parties on the principle that, as a cooperative, we can reduce costs. But how are they paid for? There are various possibilities:
- Socios pay a monthly quota which covers basic services such as legal advice, regular information and training sessions, use of our website to look for clients, etc.
- Additional services are paid for as needed, e.g. accounting for individual socios
- If socios contribute a substantial service to the cooperative, such as building a course, managing a project, doing administration work, etc., all or part of the basic monthly quota can be waived
- Meantime, socios can make ad-hoc arrangements to exchange specific services between them
So what’s to come? Here are some of the ideas we are looking to develop, many of which are based on the data from our Barcelona Teacher’s Survey last year:
- Website to advertise our services and promote the work of our socios (currently in the final bidding stage)
- Billing service for non-autónomos
- Accounting and business consultancy for socios (help with tax declarations, guidance on becoming autónomo etc.)
- Training and professional development (regular workshops, peer observation scheme, access to funding for qualifications)
- Access to co-working, classroom and meeting spaces
But these services will mean very little without more socios to benefit from and contribute to them. So we will very soon be opening up our membership to other language professionals in Barcelona. If one of these were YOU, which services would you most interest you? Which could you contribute to? And what else would you like to see us provide?