This was a Freedom of Information request to Companies House. The request was partially successful. I asked:
“How many companies have been incorporated with the word co-operative in their name in the last few years and how many have been refused approval for the word co-operative?”
After a bit of shuffling, the answer was:
“we do not collate information on applications for company names that have been refused […] As at the end of July there were 1,286 companies on the register with `co-operative’ in their name. You may also wish to note that there were an additional 56 companies with `cooperative’ in their name. […] The figures for the companies that were incorporated within the last 3 years, and are still live, are 114 for `co-operative’ and 14 for `cooperative’.”
So, there has been about a 10% increase in cooperative names registered Companies House in the last three years, but there’s no indication that Companies House are policing it effectively.
Are you seeing more cooperatives around you recently? At least in the UK, the recession-support programmes offered to our co-op favour private companies over co-ops, but maybe new start-up co-ops can also access some funding? Have you met something called a co-op (apart from a computer game) which wasn’t a co-op?