Join as member

How can I become a member of BEES coop?

Joining BEES coop is very simple, you just need to become a co-operator.

To become a co-operator member, you need to subscribe to shares in the cooperative and participate actively in the project. See Becoming a member

What are the different types of shares?

Part A—individual consumer shares

The shares are intended for people who wish to shop at BEES coop.

These shares are for consumer co-operators: in addition to the financial investment, the member commits to working for three hours every four weeks in the store. It is the member’s work and participation that is the spirit and the model of our consumer cooperative.

At general assemblies, as co-operator, you participate in the strategic decision-making process of BEES coop.

Les parts B

Part B –legal entities

These shares are only available for legal entities (e.g. non-profit organisation, private limited liability company, etc.) that share the values of the cooperative and want to use BEES coop to be their a supplier.

In keeping with the spirit of participation and working members, the exchange of services between the legal entity and BEES coop must be clearly defined. For more information, contact membre@bees-coop.be.

Part C – the support share
C shares are used to support the project financially, without a time requirement. Their purpose is to facilitate the development of the project by ensuring its financial independence.
At general assemblies, just like co-operators, you are invited to participate in strategic decision-making of BEES coop.

Still unsure? The ‘Am I BEES?‘ Infographic (currently only available in French) will help you see your options more clearly.

Can I purchase several types of shares?

No, each person can only have one type of shares.

How much do I have to invest in the cooperative to become a member?

For Part A shares, we invite you to invest €100 in the cooperative, which equals 4 part A shares. This is a one-time investment which is refundable if you decide to leave the cooperative. The total part A shares may not exceed € 5,000 per person.

The financial investment should not be a barrier to participation in the BEES project. If 100 € is a significant limitation, we invite you to purchase a minimum of one share at 25 €. You can purchase additional shares later if you wish. For more information, send an email to membre@bees-coop.be.

For part B shares, the cost of a share is set at €150 with a maximum of € 4,950.

For part C shares, support shares cost € 250 per share with a maximum of € 5,000.

How will the coop use the co-operators’ investments?

These investments form the capital of the cooperative. They will enable a strong capital base to finance the coop’s work, the purchase of the initial stock and operating costs (rents, charges, insurance …). This capital will not be used to pay salaries.

How will BEES coop’s spending be controlled?

A separate subgroup is dedicated to accounting and budgetary compliance. The accounts will be presented annually at the General Assembly and reviewed by the “Societal Committee”. In addition, an expenditure ceiling has been set for all subgroups and expense requests for any amount greater than €500 must be submitted and approved by the Coordinating Committee.

Will BEES coop seek other sources of funding?

BEES coop will look for other sources of financing financing to support the development and planning of the store. Sources such as bank loans, the SME (Small and medium-sized enterprises) regional development fund, public investment aid, and private loans among members will be explored.

Will I get a return on my investment?

BEES coop is an enterprise with a social purpose but profits do not have to be re-invested in the enterprise. Any profit allocation is decided by the General Assembly, for example, the coop may decide to reinvest in order to reduce product margins, in outreach projects or developing other services for members.

How will potential profits of the coop be used?

BEES coop is an enterprise with a social purpose but profits do not have to be re-invested in the enterprise. Any profit allocation is decided by the General Assembly, for example, the coop may decide to reinvest in order to reduce product margins, in outreach projects or developing other services for members.

Can my financial investment be refunded?

If you leave the cooperative, your investment will be refunded. The repayment can take from 0 to 24 months depending on (cooperative’s liquidity availability) the availability of liquidity of the cooperative. BEES coop does not anticipate any interests or dividends.

Is there a risk of losing my investment?

A team of co-operators, together with financial experts, have worked on the financial plan and the business plan. These are robust and have withstood negative predictions.
However, there is no such thing as zero risk. If the coop fails, it is possible that BEES will not be able to repay its cooperators. Nevertheless, the risk is limited for several reasons: expenditures will grow (e.g. wage costs) in response to the financial health of the cooperative;

The coop in practice


How is the work shared among the coop’s members?

Members will only start working when the store opens. Each consumer co-operator puts in three hours work, every four weeks with a fixed work slot (i.e. every 4th Monday between 10 am and 1pm). Of course it  is possible to request flexible work slots, which are useful for people who work shifts. Members working flexibly will be expected to sign up for work slots that are more difficult to fill.

Consumer co-operator participate at all decision making processes at the General Assemblies.

Who is obliged to work for the coop?

Everyone that is a type A co-operator member

Who can shop at BEES coop?

All type A co-operators. Each BEES coop co-operator can appoint a maximum of three members (>18 years old)  of the same household  to shop. The adults benefitting from this status must have their names on the membership card in order to be able to shop at the coop. In order to be compliant with insurance requirements, only members co-operators (those who subscribed as members of BEES coop) can work at the store.

If there are more than three adults in a household, a second member of the household has to join BEES coop as member co-operator.

Members of an household younger than 18 years old will be able to shop at the coop using their parent’s membership card.

One consumer co-operator part A could cover up to:

3 adults

2 adults + 3 children (<18 years old)

3 adults + 1 child (<18 years old)

For example, if you share a flat with 5 people, at least  two people are required to become consumer co-operators part A. In this case, all flatmates will be able to shop at the coop store. When registering at the coop we will ask you how many people are part of your household. This is based on trust, and a household composition document is not required.

How many co-operators are necessary to ensure that the store will open at the beginning of 2017?

In order to keep the store open 4 days a week we need 500 co-operators. 700 co-operators will allow the store to be open 5 days a week.

What can I buy at the coop?

You will find all products you would buy in a “normal” supermarket. We sell groceries, fresh produce and bread as well as soap, hygiene and cleaning products.

One of the aims of the coop is to allow coop members to do all their shopping at the BEES coop.

We pay special attention to the origin of our products. This is why you will find goods sold in bulk, organic groceries, local products and more generally goods that are brought to you in a way to respects the environment and human labour.

Where do the products come from?

BEES coop aims to support and foster the local economy and support local and/ or bio producers.

The selection of products is still ongoing. BEES coop is creating a clear and intuitive labelling system in order to ensure transparency on the quality and the origin of the products that proposes.

This system will allow you to consciously choose what to buy.

Click here for more information on our supply policy as well as product labels.

What is the margin that BEES will apply on the products?

BEES coop will apply a margin of about 20% of the cost price.

Is it really going to be cheaper to do your shopping at the BEES coop?

BEES coop wants to develop a fair price policy: a reasonable price for consumers as well as for producers. For the same quality and same type of products you will be able to pay less. BEES coop aim is to offer quality products to a reasonable price.

Is it possible to try it out before signing up?

As the store is not yet open, it is not currently possible. When the store opens, we will allow trial memberships. This will allow for progressive integration of new members. If you would like to know more, see article 14 of BEES coop Internal Rules.

You’ve convinced me, I want to join! What do I do?

Click on this link You will be sent payment information. Please do not omit the giro number when making the bank transfer.

Congratulations and Welcome!

Do you have any more questions? Have we missed a key question? The FAQ’s will keep  evolving, please share syour thoughts with us at contact@bees-coop.be