nilenso is a co-operative
In 2013, after closely witnessing the failure of multiple in-spirit-but-not-on-paper “software collectives”, the founders of nilenso wanted a resilient legal structure which could sustain a self-contained institution over any number of employee or founder exits.
We evaluated an array of structures: Umbrella, Founder-based, Equity-based, “decaying” equity-based, and co-operatives. Only an employee-owned, worker co-operative could meet our institution requirement over medium and long-term modeling. This decision was also based on what would appeal most to potential employees in the long run.
This worked. People frequently say they want to work with us because we are a Co-op. Six of eight founding members have left without disrupting nilenso’s active employee ownership and control.
Beyond control, a formal co-operative also dictates seven principles which the corporation must abide by:
- Voluntary, open ownership.
- Democratic owner control.
- Owner economic participation.
- Autonomy and independence.
- Education, training, and information.
- Cooperation among co-operatives.
- Concern for community.
Points #4 - #7 heavily influence our long-term operations where #1-#3 are more structural. Operational points were not taken seriously until much later in nilenso’s evolution.