ICBEC (International Co-operative Business Education Consortium)

ICBEC serves as a global network from which actors in co-operative business education (CBE) can better understand each other’s programs and mandates, collaborate where mutually beneficial, avoid overlap where possible, and ensure program relevance to the needs of co-operative and mutual enterprises globally. Launched initially in 2013, after a period of inactivity the consortium re-launched in 2021 with coordinating support from the International Centre for Co-operative Management (ICCM, Saint Mary’s University, Canada) and financial support from Sistema OCB (Brazil). Today the consortium brings together 24 registered members and over 150 participants.



Connections among existing CBE institutions, centers, and programs remain fragmented. While there is interest in collaboration, it can be difficult to move from concept to action. Also, co-operative sector awareness and support of CBE initiatives can and should increase given the importance of Principle 5. As a global network, the Consortium aims to facilitate collaboration among us with the broader aim that this will build our collective strength as co-operative enterprise experts, and consequently result in deeper knowledge dissemination to co-operatives and mutuals around the world.




Institutions and centers that focus on the provision of business education programs on the co-operative, credit union, and/or mutual enterprise model. The programs represented by the Consortium offer education and/or training. This includes formal degrees, diplomas, certificates, and professional development programs. Programs may be at the undergraduate, graduate, or postgraduate level, as well as non-credit professional development programs. The target audience for the education programs may be managers, executives, or elected representatives (e.g., delegates and board directors). Education on social enterprise and ESOPs is not specifically within the scope of this Consortium. However, we recognize that some members may train and educate on co-operative enterprise among other organizational models (including social enterprise and ESOPs).

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Educating or re-educating co-operative managers, leaders, entrepreneurs
Co-operative business model focus (ICA aligned)
Oriented towards management and governance oriented (leadership, strategy, innovation)
Improving enterprise performance while safeguarding co-operative features

Associate member

Institutions or individuals that are very engaged in co-operative business education but do not offer a formal program. At a minimum, the institution or individual should be teaching courses in this field and show that they are actively working to embed more co-operative business education within their sphere of influence.

Supporting members

Institutions that do not fit the Member or Associate category but support ICBEC by way of funding, in-kind contributions, or other strategic support (e.g., visibility, awareness raising, funding, etc.).



ICBEC in-person plenary in Montréal

On September 27, 2023, ahead of the GICS 2023 in Montréal, ICBEC Members gathered together for the first in-person plenary after the 2021 relaunch. This occasion was an opportunity to meet and brainstorm together about future collaborations and consortium activities. The consortium continues to meet online and welcomes opportunities for hosting future meetings in person.


ICBEC at GICS Montreal 2023

ICBEC joined the 2023 Global Innovation Coop Summit that took place in Montréal, from September 27 to September 29. The panel “Digital Coop Education” was led by Claude-André Guillotte, Director of IRECUS, Department of Entrepreneurship, School of Management at the University of Sherbrooke (ICBEC member), along with Ilana Gotz, EURICE and ICBEC Secretariat, Italy; John Kay, CEO and Senior Instructor at Live Learning Labs, RealizeU, Canada; and Janielle Maxwell, Project Coordinator for the JEDDI Business Conversion Project, Canada. They delved into how cooperatives could leverage digital solutions to integrate cooperative business education into mainstream education. They also attempted to identify the promising strategies that could facilitate the diffusion of cooperative knowledge and highlighted the challenges preventing the cooperative model from becoming a common feature across various educational frameworks.


ICBEC Relaunch

The ICBEC consortium was relaunched in 2021 in an online plenary meeting gathering participants from around the globe. The participants confirmed support for the relaunch and an eagerness to collaborate. The ICCM of Saint Mary’s University, along with Sistema OCB, agreed to serve as leaders and initiators for the Consortium relaunch.